Active Covid-19 case numbers for the Fernie Local Health Area have been updated by the BC Centre for Disease Control for the January 10th to 16th period and are now listed as twenty. The Fernie Local Health Area includes the Fernie, Sparword, Elkford, RDEK Area A and Jaffray and Baynes Lake.
How does 20 cases make sense in light of Dr. Ron Clark’s discussion with the Fernie Chamber this week? Dr. Clark discussed a 20% plus positive test rate and positioned Fernie as having an outbreak as bad as anywhere in the world. Dr. Clark commented that we one step away from being on the national news, that step happened today with Global News.
Jeff Ray best summarized in a Facebook post how to understand the reported numbers in light of Dr. Clark’s discussion:
Big jump in cases last week in Fernie to 20. The previous week was 3 cases.
It’s worth remembering as well that these are just the cases from last Saturday to Saturday. This means any cases from Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday or today are not included.
If you look closely, the recent flood of local businesses openly disclosing cases have largely been from the last few days so wouldn’t be included in these totals.
It’s also worth noting these numbers may miss people whose home address is outside the Elk Valley, which often happens here, may not be included in the total.
Houston, we have a problem. As Dr. Clark recently disclosed, our local testing centre has had a few days where the positivity rate has been 20%. That’s huge, though not based on a huge sample size.
These are only the known test positive cases. In fact, these cases are not the problem: these cases are known, are isolating, and have public health follow-up. It’s the unknown cases that are still circulating that are the potential problem. That number is unknown, even to me.
But things aren’t completely out of control. . . Yet. Just showing the potential to head that way. Now is the time to buckle down. Wash hands. Distance. Mask. Stay home when sick. And for now, unfortunately, no visitors in your home. That’s a public health order: it’s the law.
You can still get outside, exercise and enjoy the fresh air. Continue to support local business. Just do it safely.
Elk Valley: we got this. We’ve put out COVID-19 fires before. We can do this again.
Residents in Fernie have expressed concern about the high level of non-essential skier traffic in town. A Research Co. poll in November found 87% of British Columbians were in favour of having travel restrictions across B.C.-Alberta border.
Premier John Horgan commented last week that he’s looking at options to prevent Canadian visitors from other provinces from crossing the border and entering BC for non-essential travel. This comes as COVID-19 continues to spread, the highest growth being in Interior Health which borders Alberta, and after communities across B.C. saw visitors from across the province and country over the holidays. Horgan says he’s hearing loud and clear that people are concerned about this travel and want it stopped.
“We have been trying our best to find a way to meet that objective of the public in a way that’s consistent with the Charter and other fundamental rights here in Canada, so legal advice is what we sought,” Horgan said. He says although international travel has been mostly dealt with, there are still challenges “when it comes to mobility within Canada.”
Earlier this week an SFU health expert, citing COVID variants, urged B.C. to act quickly to restrict inter-provincial travel. Kelley Lee, the director of global health studies at Simon Fraser University, says no jurisdiction can completely shut its borders to essential travellers, but B.C. should consider restrictions, along with other measures, such as screening and testing.
BC Health restrictions continue, “The orders that we have had in place have had an impact on the transmission of the virus in British Columbia. However, transmission continues and we need to continue our efforts to reduce social interactions and stop the spread. The provincial health officer’s orders restricting all gatherings and events have been extended through to FEBRUARY 5, 2021, at midnight. This includes gatherings in people’s homes and in public venues. See the restriction details here.
Covid is a virus that spreads exponentially. A few cases becomes many without restrictions being followed. In Alberta where the case load is high we are seeing all ages affected and Intensive Care Unit admissions skyrocketing. Mild symptoms can progress rapidly to severe symptoms including the need for oxygen and a breathing machine. Do not let this virus run wild.
Keep doing all you can to prevent the spread of this tricky virus: be kind, be calm, stay safe!