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Kamloops-area COVID-19 cases spiking

In all of 2020, the Kamloops local health area had 346 confirmed cases. Through Jan. 23, there have been at least 283 cases in 2021.
COVID cases Kamloops

The Interior Health region continues to share nearly one quarter of B.C.’s active COVID-19 cases, with Kamloops seeing a record number of recent infections.

Exposures and outbreaks continue to emerge and develop cases in and around the city.

At the forefront is the outbreak at Royal Inland Hospital, where 86 cases have been reported, affecting 56 staff and 30 patients, with one related patient death. There are 59 active cases. The outbreak affects two units at the hospital, 6 South, a surgical ward, and the hospital’s COVID-19 ward.

Interior Health says the hospital remains safe to attend and asked patients to continue with any scheduled procedures.

Other outbreaks include one at the long-term care home Brocklehurst Gemstone Care Centre, which reported its first new case in more than a week on Monday, with one additional staff member affected. The outbreak has produced 24 cases, including 16 residents and eight staff. Two deaths have been linked to the outbreak and Kamloops This Week learned of a third death at the facility late last week.

A new outbreak in the city was also reported on Monday, at the Westsyde Care Residences, a group home with 21 publicly funded beds that offers care for those with brain or spinal cord injuries and cognitive, mental or physical impairments. Nine residents and three staff have contracted COVID-19 there.

School exposures continue to be reported by Interior Health. There are currently eight notices of exposures, all occurring in late January.

They include Marion Schilling elementary (Jan. 21), Sa-Hali secondary (Jan. 19 to Jan. 28), Valleyview secondary (Jan. 20), Summit elementary (Jan. 19 to Jan. 21), Beattie elementary (Jan. 21 and Jan. 22), NorKam secondary (Jan. 20 to Jan. 22), Aberdeen elementary (Jan. 22), Westsyde secondary (Jan. 27 and Jan. 28) and St. Ann’s Academy (Jan. 27 to Jan. 29). The exposures at Sa-Hali secondary have resulted in 12 cases of COVID-19, including nine students and three staff. Hundreds more — 200 students and 18 staff — have been directed to self-isolate by Interior Health.

Exposures in businesses have also continued, including two at McDonald’s locations in Kamloops. On Monday, the company reported confirmed cases at Fortune Drive location, where the affected employee last worked on Jan. 28, and at its Victoria Street location, where the employee last worked Jan. 31.

While updated data from the BCCDC was expected late Tuesday afternoon, after KTW’s press deadline, the most recent figures show the number of infections is at an all-time high. From Jan. 17 to Jan. 23, the Kamloops local health area saw 124 new infections. That data does not include many, if any, of the infections stemming from the Royal Inland Hospital outbreak, which was first reported by the health authority on Jan. 22.

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

In all of 2020, there were 346 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Kamloops local health area. This year, there have already been at least 283 cases.

Of the 21 deaths reported by the province on Monday, six were in Interior Health: two at long-term care homes in Vernon, one at a care home in West Kelowna and three in the community or hospital.