By Sophie Carrigan Gray, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Osoyoos Times
Two people connected to a fruit farm in Oliver have tested positive for COVID-19, said a spokesperson for Interior Health.
Both cases are linked to the Krazy Cherry Farm Company in Oliver, B.C. One case was diagnosed last week, while the second was diagnosed over the weekend, prompting health officials to send a team to the location for further investigation and testing.
Dr. Silvina Mema, medical health officer for Interior Health, confirmed the two positive cases during a phone call with the Times-Chronicle on Monday afternoon. She said one of the cases may be linked to the community exposure events in Kelowna.
“One of those individuals had travelled to Kelowna, so there may be some connection with that.” said Dr. Mema.
One of the individuals who tested positive is a temporary foreign worker at the Krazy Cherry Farm Co. It is believed that this person contracted the virus from within B.C. after testing negative upon completing a 14-day quarantine on arrival in Canada.
This case was the second case detected at the farm, and it is assumed that this person contracted COVID-19 from the individual who travelled to Kelowna.
Dr. Mema confirmed that a team of doctors, nurses and health investigators are at the Krazy Cherry Farm to test workers and anyone connected with individuals who tested positive.
“So what we’ve asked the farm, is that nobody can leave the farm so that we can investigate and, first of all, prevent any spread until we are satisfied that there is no transmission among themselves,” said Dr. Mema.
The two Oliver cases come after a notice was issued over the weekend about a community exposure event in Kelowna. Eight individuals tested positive for COVID-19 after attending gatherings in Kelowna between June 25 and July 9. The outbreak has now been connected to a number of businesses and locations in the area.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister for Health Adrian Dix are asking any individuals who were at Discovery Bay Resort in Kelowna from July 1 to 5 or Boyce Gyro Beach Lodge on July 1 to self isolate. People who went to Cactus Club Cafe on Water Street from July 3 to 6 or Pace Spin Studio on July 2, 4, 5, 7, or 9 are asked to self-monitor and get tested immediately if symptoms appear.
“Now is the time to pay attention to how we are feeling and what we are doing, to keep ourselves and those around us safe,” said the health officials in a joint statement. “Until a vaccine or effective treatment is available, our focus is to keep new cases low and slow. And to do this, all of us need to do our part.”
The past week saw daily case numbers of COVID-19 rise in B.C., for a total of 168 new cases between July 5 and 13.
Sixty-two cases reported over the weekend are included in that number for a total of 3,115 cases in the province. Of those, 209 are in the Interior Health region.
There have been an additional two deaths over the weekend, bringing B.C.’s total number of COVID-19 related deaths to 189.
No new health care facility outbreaks have been detected.
Health authorities continue reminding British Columbians that we are not free of COVID-19, and to continue to stay strong and remember health protocols to keep everyone safe.
“To keep new cases low, we need to use layers of protection. To always stay home and not travel when ill, even if we may think it is a cold or allergies to wash our hands regularly keep a safe distance from others and use a mask when it is more challenging to maintain social distance,” said Dr. Henry and Dix in an emailed statement. “As COVID-19 remains in our communities, the actions you take every day make a difference and will help protect all of us.”