Island residents urged to take caution as COVID-19 cases rise in B.C. interior

Island residents urged to take caution as COVID-19 cases rise in B.C. interior
WatchNew restrictions have been put into place in Central Okanagan in an effort to curb the rapidly growing case count they've seen over the last week. Now, many are worried the rising cases could spell bad news for the Island too.

Vancouver Island residents are being urged to take caution as cases rise in other parts of the province.

While things are starting to look more like normal as people flood the streets in downtown Victoria, things could take a turn as COVID-19 cases are rising in the B.C. interior.

Health officials have once again tightened the reigns for residents in the Interior Health Region as the delta variant continues to emerge.

Additional measures are being put in like stricter limits on outdoor and indoor gatherings, restaurant seating and nightclubs and bars closing, to push back against the rising case counts in the interior.

“We now need to take additional restrictions to slow the transmission of COVID-19 in this region,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry on Friday.

As of Friday, more than half of the active COVID-19 cases in the province are in the interior, a vast majority in Central Okanagan.

However, health experts warn it’s not just those living in the interior who should be cautious.

“In all areas of British Columbia we’re seeing exponential growth, including the island,” said Dean Karlen, a member of the B.C. COVID-19 Modelling Group.

The delta variant continues to emerge faster than they expected, they warn this could lead to a serious rise in case counts and hospitalizations this fall and winter.

“The delta is able to transmit sufficiently to even overcome the high-level vaccine immunity we have in our population,” added Karlen.

But, it seems many on the Island are still very hopeful a fourth wave can be avoided.

As cases begin to rise again in the province, experts are re-instating the importance of getting both jabs as they become more available in B.C.

READ MORE: Delta variant behind increase in COVID-19 case numbers in British Columbia: Experts

Hannah LepineHannah Lepine

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