There are two new cases of COVID-19 in the North Thompson Local Health Area between Aug. 1 and Aug. 7, according to the latest data from the BC Centre for Disease Control. The region hadn’t reported a case since mid-May.
“It’s time to tighten up again,” Mayor Merlin Blackwell wrote in a Facebook post on Aug. 12 in response to a number of unconfirmed rumours of COVID cases in Clearwater. “Delta variant is no joke and it hits the young just as hard as anyone. Case counts across North America are rising dramatically again. If you haven’t been vaccinated, do so at the next earliest opportunity.”
While the LHA maps are updated by the BC CDC every Wednesday, Blackwell posted to Facebook on Aug. 13 that he was able to confirm with the health authority that there have been five positive cases of COVID-19 reported in the area since Aug. 1.
A few days later, Blackwell released the dates for clinics in Clearwater that will be held at Clearwater Public Health (640 Park Drive) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 18 and 26, as well as Sept. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30.
Vaccination numbers in the North Thompson LHA have increased over the last couple of months but are still below the provincial average of 71 per cent receiving both doses of a vaccine. The BC CDC releases vaccine information for local health areas each Wednesday, and this information is for the week ending Aug. 10.
The graph shows that on July 13, 53 per cent of people ages 12 and up had two doses of a vaccine. This week, that number is 62 per cent.
The percentages are higher for older populations, as is the case provincewide. In the North Thompson on July 13, 68 per cent of those 50 and up had two doses. This week that number is 73.
For those aged 18 to 49, just 38 per cent were fully vaccinated on July 13. By Aug. 10, the percentage is still just below half at just 47 per cent.
As ripples of the fourth wave begin to be felt across the Interior, the Physicians of Clearwater are asking residents to get vaccinated and wear masks indoors.
“This virus has arrived in our community from people who brought it here or locals who travelled and brought it back,” a post to Facebook on Aug. 11 reads. “The higher we can get the vaccination numbers, the safer we will be…We also recommend masking indoors where there are people you do not know — think grocery store, post office — now is the time to keep a safe distance and shut this down.”
In a report released Aug. 6, the CDC identified the Delta variant as the main variant in circulation. Using genome sequencing the report estimates that it is responsible for 95 per cent of cases in the province.
At press time, Interior Health reported 376 new cases yesterday and one new death, bringing the total active cases to 2,446.
According to the BC CDC, the majority of cases in the province over the past month were among unvaccinated individuals.
– Updated to include recent information about COVID-19 cases in the area. With files from Black Press.