The most recent information from the BCCDC shows four more cases of COVID-19 in the North Thompson local health area, which stretches from just north of Little Fort to south of Valemount. The map is updated every Wednesday with the previous week's numbers. (BCCDC)

Four more cases in North Thompson health area

The North Thompson local health area stretches from just south of Blackpool to south of Valemount.

Four new cases have been reported in the North Thompson local health area.

The number is in addition to the three cases reported the week of Dec. 20 to 26, 2020. There were no additional cases reported the week after (Dec. 27 to Jan. 2). Updates to the map are made weekly, though for the week of Jan. 3 to 9, it was delayed due to “incomplete data,” the BC CDC website noted on Jan. 13.

The map notes that three additional cases in Interior Health have not been included to the data due to missing address information.

The small rise in local cases, as well as the exposures in Barriere and outbreaks in the Cariboo, have had some residents concerned and wondering who is sick and where they are, as evident by posts and chatter on social media.

In response, Mayor Merlin Blackwell repeated a message he has shared numerous times: “Assume COVID-19 is here. Wash your hands, mask up, social distance. Travel only when essential. Best practices are what will prevent spread.”

The LHA map cases are reported by geographic distribution, meaning each case is mapped by residence. If someone is tested in Kamloops but lives in Clearwater, for example, the case will be mapped in the North Thompson local health area.

The health boundaries in British Columbia are separated by health authority (i.e., Interior Health), then into health service delivery areas (i.e., Thompson Cariboo Shuswap) and finally into local health area (i.e., North Thompson, not to be confused with the North Thompson Valley region, as is widely recognized by the public). These maps can be found here.

Communities within the North Thompson local health area include Blackpool, Clearwater, Vavenby, Avola and Blue River. The boundary stops just south of Valemount.

Interior Health identified 65 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, and four new deaths over the weekend.

As of Jan. 19, Interior Health’s total active cases were 1,058 — the first time the region has hit more than 1,000 active cases.

Parents in Barriere were made aware last week about exposures at both the secondary and elementary schools. A total of three cases have been recorded at Barriere Secondary, with the potential exposure dates Jan. 5 to 8, while the elementary school had noted one potential case, with the potential exposure dates Jan. 5, 7 and 8.

Four schools in Kamloops, South Kamloops Secondary, Arthur Hatton Elementary, Juniper Ridge Elementary and Valleyview Secondary, are all reporting cases as well. To date, no cases have been reported through Interior Health or SD73 about schools in Clearwater or another school in the North Thompson local health area.

The school exposure list can be found here and serves as a secondary measure to give the public a sense of where COVID-19 activity is occuring to take precaution as needed, said Interior Health’s media relations team.

Anyone at risk to exposure from any case will be contact directly by the health authority’s public health contact tracers. They would also like to remind the public that while we are seeing cases in schools, the transmissions are not happening within the schools themselves (peer-to-peer) and add it is thanks to the controlled environments and precautions that are in place.

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