Restrictions introduced in the Okanagan earlier this summer have been expanded to the rest of B.C.’s Interior Health region in response to rising cases of COVID-19. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that displacement due to wildfires in B.C.’s Interior has made it necessary to expand public health orders to the entire region.

The Fernie Health Region is part of Interior HEalth and these restrictions do apply. Please be kind to others as these restrictions are implemented.

Here is Interior Health’s news release:

Interior Health (IH) is introducing new public health orders covering the entire Interior
Health region to manage COVID-19 activity.

Effective Saturday August 21:
• Masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces for people 12 years and older.
• Low-intensity indoor group exercise is permitted to a maximum 10 people per class. High-intensity indoor group exercise is not permitted.
• Outdoor group exercise is permitted up to 50 people per class.

Effective Monday, August 23 at 9 am:
• Gatherings in vacation rentals are limited to five guests or one additional household.
• Indoor personal gatherings are limited to ten guests or one other household.
• Outdoor personal gatherings (e.g. birthday parties, backyard BBQs, block parties) are limited to no more than 50 people.
• Organized indoor gatherings (e.g. weddings, funerals, seated events) are limited to 50 people, and outdoors gatherings are limited to 100 people, both requiring a COVID-19 safety plan.

The previous orders for central Okanagan food and liquor establishments remain in place. These measures will remain in place until the end of September and Interior Health experiences lower cases and higher vaccination rates.

“While we are beginning to see cases in the central Okanagan slowly plateau, we are seeing more cases in other areas of Interior Health,” said Interior Health president and CEO, Susan Brown. “We are calling on all young adults to get your vaccine, especially those who work in jobs where you interact with the public. It is the most effective way to protect yourself and to reduce transmission in the community.”

Most people are being exposed at social gatherings, work places or in private households. The delta variant is leading to faster transmission and more severe outcomes for younger people. Immunization remains the most effective prevention against COVID-19.

“The vast majority of our cases are in people who are unimmunized or partially immunized and in adults between 20-40 years old. For those who haven’t yet gotten their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, please get it now. Getting immunized will help keep our hospital beds open for treating people with other illnesses and needing surgery,” said Interior Health medical health officer, Dr. Rob Parker.

The interval between first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses has decreased to 28 days for everyone. People can get vaccinated by dropping into any IH immunization clinic or by booking an appointment. Pop-up clinics are being added in communities throughout the region. All clinic locations and details area available here: https://news.interiorhealth.ca/news/covid-19-immunization-clinics/,

See the Fernie area COVID-19 update and vaccination information here.

Source: Facebook, Interior Health

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