British Columbia health officials will reinstate even more health measures in the Central Okanagan after the reintroduction of a mask mandate did little to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the region.
As of Friday, 56.24 per cent of active COVID-19 cases in the province are in the Interior Health Authority, with the vast majority of those in the Central Okanagan.
In the last week since the mandatory masks rule was reinstated there, infection rates have tripled in the Central Okanagan, said Interior Health Chief Medical Health Officer Sue Pollock.
READ MORE: Henry says recent COVID-19 surge primarily driven by younger, unimmunized people
Also despite those measures, the region is still seeing the number of cases grow mostly among unvaccinated people or those who have had only one shot, with spillover into long-term and acute care, said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
“We now need to take additional restrictions to slow the transmissions of COVID-19 in this region,” said Henry.
The new orders taking place effective immediately in Interior Health are that personal and organized outdoor gatherings will once again be limited to 50 people, while personal indoor gatherings will be limited to five people or one other household. Nightclubs and bars will also be ordered to close, among other industry restrictions.
It comes a day after health officials reported 402 new daily cases of COVID-19, the highest daily total since May 21.
Asked whether B.C. would still move to Step 4 of its reopening plan in September despite the rising numbers, Henry said the province will continue to monitor the data.
“We are monitoring things over time and that’s what we said we were going to do,” said Henry. “We need to continually evaluate the evolving situation that we’re seeing, this is something we have learned in the last 18 months.”
Health Minister Adrian Dix also reported that the seven-millionth dose of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered somewhere in B.C. Friday morning. Nearly 82 per cent of people over hte age of 12 had received their first dose, while 68.9 per cent had received both doses.