The latest statistics for the Trail Local Health Area (LHA) show 80 per cent of people – aged 12 years and older – have had their first dose of vaccination for COVID-19 disease.
Further data from the BC Centre for Disease Control reveals 11 new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in the Trail LHA for the final week of July.
This is an uptick of confirmed cases from the previous weeks of July which collectively recorded 10 new infections from July 4 to July 24.
Since the province began keeping track of pandemic infections in January 2020 and up until July 31, there have been a total of 98 COVID-19 cases confirmed in the Trail LHA.
These statistics encompass a population of 20,404 (2019) living in Rossland, Warfield, Trail, Montrose and Fruitvale as well as everyone in Area A and Area B/Lower Columbia-Old Glory (includes Genelle) of the regional district.
Those numbers don’t yet include cases from the August long weekend, during which 395 new infections were confirmed in Interior Health.
And there are no LHA statistics on the ages of people newly infected with this virus, which the World Health Organization describes as “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).”
Nor are there LHA statistics presently available on fully vaccinated people.
That said, Dr. Karin Goodison, a medical health officer with Interior Health, noted the majority of people who are being infected and/or hospitalized have not had any vaccine dose.
“Our numbers are typically reflective of what we see in B.C., and those numbers indicate that 95 per cent of people who are hospitalized are not immunized or under-immunized,” she said.
If numbers continue to climb, Goodison said Interior Health will consider localized health restrictions similar to those in place in the Central Okanagan where an outbreak has been declared.
Those restrictions include: a mandatory mask mandate in all indoor public places for everyone 12 years and older; closure of nightclubs and bars that do not offer full meal services; a 50-person limit on outdoor gatherings and a five-guest limit to indoor gatherings; and avoidance of non-essential travel.
For that to happen in the West Kootenay, Goodison said Interior Health will consider whether new patients are exceeding the capacity of healthcare facilities, or if its contact tracing program is keeping up with cases.
It will also look at local immunization rates.
“We factor all of those things into account when making those decisions,” she said.
Elsewhere, the Nelson LHA, which includes Salmo and parts of the Slocan Valley, had a surge of 38 new cases the last week of July.
The new cases are the most Nelson has recorded in one week since the pandemic began, which now total 181 cases. Castlegar meanwhile recorded 18 new cases, followed by Arrow Lakes with three and one apiece in Kootenay Lake and Creston. Grand Forks had no new cases.
By press time Monday, 24 British Columbians, not vaccinated for COVID-19, were in intensive care battling the disease.
B.C.’s top doctor, Bonnie Henry, says the surge in COVID-19 cases is fuelled by those between the ages of 20 and 40 who are unvaccinated or have only had one dose.
Henry says the key is that health officials aren’t seeing widespread transmission to at-risk groups such as seniors because they have a high rate of immunization.
She says pandemic modelling shows the Delta variant is more transmissible, which means immunization rates must go up, and even a small increase in vaccinations makes a difference.
– With files from Tyler Harper and Ashley Wadhwani, Black Press Media