While COVID-19 case counts and rates are falling across the southern interior, Cranbrook case numbers remain the highest in the Kootenays, according to weekly data from the BC Centre for Disease Control.
Between Sept. 5-11, Cranbrook recorded 54 COVID-19 cases, a slight drop from the previous reporting week, which identified 68 cases.
Nelson, the other Kootenay hotspot, is slightly down at 41 cases, compared to 44 cases identified in the previous reporting week.
Interior Health has also reported two deaths this week connected to an outbreak at Joseph Creek Village in Cranbrook. The updates did not specify whether the death was a resident or a staff member.
The outbreak, first declared on Sept. 3, is currently up to nine residents and five staff members.
Over in the Elk Valley, the Fernie Local Health Area reported 24 cases and Kimberley reported five cases.
In addition to the local health area case counts and rates, the BC CDC also released weekly data broken down by health authority between Aug. 29-Sept. 4.
In that weekly epidemiological reporting week, Interior Health recorded 1,334 cases — just below Fraser Health’s total of 1,350, which led the province.
In Interior Health, 109 cases were hospitalized and 26 cases were admitted into intensive care. Interior Health led the province in hospitalizations, but Fraser Health had the most ICU admissions at 33.
Across the province 21 deaths were reported in that week, with seven of those being in Interior Health.
Meanwhile, over in Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney has announced a swath of measures to counter rising COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations that have strained the provincial health care system.
Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of Alberta Health Services, said the province is facing it’s “greatest challenge as a provincial health care organization,” during Wednesday’s press conference announcing the restrictions.
On Tuesday, Sept. 15, Alberta had 270 patients admitted into Intensive Care Units, she said.
“That is the highest number of ICU patients that we have ever seen at any time during the pandemic, or ever in our provincialized health care system,” Yiu said, noting that AHS will be reaching out to other provinces for ICU availability as well as requesting help from out-of-province specialized health care staff to come to Alberta.
By contrast, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix tweeted on Sept. 14 that there were 140 patients in intensive care in B.C.
The new Alberta measures include mandatory masking in all indoor public spaces, including schools, as well as attendance restrictions on private social gatherings while also rolling out a proof-of-vaccination program.
Premier Kenney also announced a provincial state of emergency in response to the pandemic’s fourth wave.
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