Coast COVID cases doubled in August to 14

The latest data from the BC Centre for Disease Control show the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the lower Sunshine Coast doubled from seven between January and July 31 to 14 by the end of August.

Provincial health officials began releasing COVID case numbers by local health area, a subdivision of the health authorities’ service delivery areas, last month and have committed to updating the information once a month, although it lags behind by several weeks.

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For example, the data released Sept. 21 lists only one case for Powell River, and does not include the 31 cases within the Tla’amin First Nation reported this month or any other cases reported since Sept. 1.

The update on local cases comes as B.C. continues to see increasing case numbers and more Sunshine Coast businesses are asking customers to wear masks, including all three IGA grocery stores, the Independent Grocer in Sechelt and businesses in other sectors like Persephone Brewing and the trucking firm City Transfer.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) said it could not comment on the specifics of the new cases, but in a statement emailed to Coast Reporter said, “The Sunshine Coast local health area is experiencing community COVID-19 transmission similar to all other areas in the VCH region... We make public notifications when Public Health is not able to reach all close contacts and determines it is necessary to inform the public about a potential exposure.”

In her Sept. 21 statement on the pandemic, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said, “COVID-19 requires us to set new routines and new boundaries to keep ourselves, our families and our friends safe this fall and winter.”

She added: “The less time you spend with someone, the farther apart you should be. If you’ve never met the person before, then maintaining two metres distance is very important.

“However, for your household bubble and ‘safe six’ friends, closer is OK, unless someone is more vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19. For classmates and colleagues who you see most days, the safe distance lies somewhere in between.”

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