Vernon mayor feels for those infected with COVID-19 in Kelowna

‘Social distancing outside one’s own social bubble needs to be done in a very cautious way,’ Mayor Victor Cumming says

As the number of COVID-19 cases in the Kelowna cluster grows, Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming said it’s a time to remain diligent and follow the orders of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“We need to be extremely careful and social distancing outside one’s own social bubble needs to be done in a very cautious way,” the mayor said Thursday, July 23.

“The virus can be anywhere and we have relearned this, if people have forgotten.”

Seventy-eight cases linked to the Kelowna cluster were reported Wednesday, July 22 — 66 of those are individuals from the Interior Health region, others are from Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health.

One additional case of the novel coronavirus has been confirmed among Kelowna General Hospital employees bringing the number of cases among health-care workers to seven.

Roughly 1,000 people are self-isolating across British Columbia after coming into contact with someone who has contracted the virus.

READ MORE: ‘Everyone needs to do better’: Kelowna Mayor on city’s rising COVID-19 numbers

“My thoughts are with those who have ended up with it in Kelowna and area,” Mayor Cumming said. “It’s not a nice to thing to have at all.”

“It’s particularly hard,” Mayor Cumming said. “We’re in the Okanagan summer at its best and it’s been a shut-in winter and spring and now we have glorious weather and people are wanting to be outside and connect with friends and new friends.”

READ MORE: Interior Health identifies COVID-19 exposure at Browns Socialhouse in Kelowna

READ MORE: Over 60 cases of COVID-19 related to Kelowna cluster

Several Kelowna restaurants and businesses have once again closed their doors to the public as staff awaits results from COVID-19 testing. Locations include Rustic Reel Brewing, Brown’s Socialhouse and the Train Station Pub.

Starbucks on Anderson Way in Vernon has also closed its doors temporarily after two staffers exhibited symptoms of the novel coronavirus. The coffee giant said it expects to reopen its doors July 31.

“Both partners were sent home and went to be tested, and we initiated a deep clean, following all recommended guidelines from public health authorities,” said Starbucks in a statement to the Morning Star.

READ MORE: Vernon Starbucks outlet temporarily closed over COVID-19 concerns

Mayor Cumming said it’s clear the tourism and hospitality sectors have been hard hit by the worldwide pandemic.

“Lots of businesses count on financially busy summers,” he said. “I really feel for them.”

B.C.’s top doctor ordered people who rent homes, houseboats and other vacation rentals to limit their guests Thursday, July 23. Details of the new order will be in effect Friday, July 24. The measure will be required for rental agreements for resorts and other vacation rentals such as AirBnB and VRBO.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Rental guests to be limited, B.C.’s Dr. Bonnie Henry says

“It’s in my view, the view of the province and provincial health officer and ministry of health, we really have to be careful as we’re moving into these next stages as we’re freeing up our economic and social lives,” Mayor Cumming said.

That reopening will have to remain slow, he said. “If we’re going to maximize health.”


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘It’s just my job’: Off-duty Peachland paramedic saves choking girl downtown Penticton

Family vacationing in Penticton assisted by off-duty paramedic, who helps save 13-year-old

Evacuation alert for homes near Dry Lake fire rescinded

Fire status changed to Under Control, crews remain on site patrolling and extinguishing hot spots

Morning Start: The human body contains trace amounts of gold

Your morning start for Friday, August 7, 2020

COLUMN: Listen to those who know about COVID-19

Accurate information is essential when understanding the pandemic

Penticton man wakes to wildfire, forced to evacuate from home

A wildfire sparked off the side of Highway 97 near Penticton on Thursday

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Number of Kelowna-linked COVID-19 cases grows to 159

Interior Health reported four new cases region-wide on Friday, 18 remain active

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Police watchdog deems Kelowna RCMP not responsible for man’s death

The man spoke to police after a car crash before leaving on foot; he was found dead six hours later

Central Okanagan adds 3,600 jobs in July: Statistics Canada

The region’s unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 10 per cent in July

Vandals target North Okanagan camper

COVID-19 ‘No camping’ warnings sprayed on local camper

Most Read