From Aug. 22 to Aug. 28, there were 249 COVID-19 cases reported in the Kamloops local health area. (BC CDC photo)

Salmon Arm, other Interior communities hit record weekly high of COVID-19 cases

From Aug. 22 to 28, Kamloops health area jumped from a record 193 new weekly cases to 249

  • Sep. 4, 2021 12:00 a.m.

Kamloops This Week

For the second consecutive week, the Kamloops local health area has recorded the highest-ever weekly number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

From Aug. 22 to Aug. 28, there were 249 COVID-19 cases reported in the local health area. The week before, there was a then-record of 193 new cases.

However, data from the BC Centre for Disease Control does not specify the severity of the cases, nor does it indicate how many of the cases have led to hospitalization.

In addition, while BCCDC data shows the total number of patients in hospital in B.C., broken down by each of the five health regions, it does not split those numbers further and detail cases in each hospital.

The number of patients in hospital in B.C. and in Interior Health has risen over the summer, with the vast majority of those being treated either unvaccinated or having had one shot.

As of Sept. 1, there were 50 people in hospital in Interior Health, 36 of whom are in intensive care.

At Royal Inland Hospital, it appears the number of COVID-19 patients is increasing significantly.

Eric Haywood-Farmer, an emergency room doctor at RIH, updated the situation on his Facebook page on Sept. 1, noting what he called a “flood” of COVID-19 patients, all of whom are unvaccinated:

“It’s Covid-aggedon in our hospital right now. We’ve spent this week dealing with a flood of Covid-positive patients — some inconvenienced, some feeling terrible, many in critical condition,” Haywood-Farmer said in the post.

“All unvaccinated. The ICU is bursting with Covid patients, including young, healthy adults.

“Please don’t become the next tragic case. Don’t let the flood become a tsunami. Get a vaccine. Wear a mask. Protect yourself and everyone else.”

While the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has exploded in the Kamloops local health area, the situation was markedly different only a month-and-a-half ago.

In mid-July, there were as little as 10 cases recorded during a one-week period.

In all of 2020, the local health area recorded 346 confirmed cases, which accounted for about eight per cent of all cases in Interior Health last year

The Kamloops local health area has a population of about 117,500 and encompasses an area of 16,500 square kilometres, including Kamloops, Little Fort, Barriere, Sun Peaks, Chase, Westwold, Adams Lake, Anglemont, Savona and Logan Lake.

Elsewhere in Interior Health during the week of Aug. 22 to Aug. 28:

• There were 511 cases in the Central Okanagan (which includes Kelowna), down from 737 the week before;

• There were 263 cases in Vernon (133 the week before);

• There were 93 new cases in the Salmon Arm health area (which includes Sicamous and Sorrento), up from 79 the week before;

• There were three cases in Revelstoke (24 the week before);

• There were eight cases in Merritt (13 the week before);

• There were four cases in North Thompson (three the week before).

The rising case counts in Interior Health have led to increased restrictions on gathering and events until at least the end of September.

Interior Health is a large area that stretches from the B.C.-Alberta border in the east to the Chilcotin in the west, and from just north of Williams Lake in the north to the Canada-U.S. border in the south.

Rising case counts across B.C. has have led to mask mandates for all indoor public spaces and the introduction of a vaccination certificate program effective Sept. 13.

Unvaccinated people will not be permitted to attend various non-essential places, including restaurants, pubs, casinos, gyms, sporting events and concerts.

Provincewide, there are 5,356 active cases and 139 people in hospital, 75 of whom are in intensive care. In Interior Health, there are 1,911 active cases and 45 people hospitalized, 22 of whom are in intensive care.

Read more: Letter: Living thanks to earlier vaccination campaigns

Read more: Four people test positive for COVID-19 at Shuswap long-term care facility

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Salmon Arm Observer