Health Minister Adrian Dix reminded British Columbians to understand their responsibilities and the risks involved in attending private parties as officials hurry to trace contacts connected to a coronavirus outbreak in Kelowna.
At least eight cases so far have been connected to Canada Day bashes hosted at two resorts on the city’s waterfront.
“While we’re on vacation, we’re not on vacation from our responsibilities with respect to COVID-19,” he said at a news conference Monday.
“When people come together for private parties, largely people in their 20s and 30s, risks are considerably higher,” he said. “They are enclosed spaces with people coming from different walks of life who may not know each other at all.”
Health officials have warned anyone who attended gatherings at Boyce Gyro Beach Lodge on July 1 or Discovery Bay Resort from July 1 to 5 to self-isolate because of potential coronavirus exposure there.
Further contact tracing revealed infected individuals visited the Cactus Club restaurant on Water Street between July 3 and 6, and Pace Spin Studio on July 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9. Anyone who visited those locations at the same time has been asked to monitor for symptoms.
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The cluster of Kelowna cases involves residents of Interior Health, Fraser Health, and Vancouver Coastal Health, Dix revealed.
He did not know whether someone in that cluster was on a flight from Vancouver to Kelowna on July 6, which prompted a warning from the BC Centre for Disease Control for passengers to self-isolate.
New flight added to the exposures list today: July 6 from Kelowna to Vancouver, AC8421. We recommend that flight passengers self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days following the flight https://t.co/t9lMfprlnz
— BCCDC (@CDCofBC) July 13, 2020
“We can travel, but we have to be as respectful when we travel as we are in our home communities,” Dix said. He pointed to physically distanced gatherings on lawns as safer alternatives to traditional house parties.
He added the risk of potentially transmitting the virus to loved ones should inspire everyone to follow the rules.
“It’s still with us, and we need to act accordingly.”