Dix said the tourism industry has done a good job of creating safe environments for guests, but it’s also up to those guests to ensure they respect physical distancing guidelines and group-size limitations.
“Whether it’s a trip or a party at home, the same risks and the same rules apply,” Dix said.
“We’ve got to live with COVID-19 for the next year, so that means the responsibility is on all of us to understand the risks and understand our responsibilities to one another.”
As well, officials on Monday warned of possible COVID-19 exposure after an individual on board an Air Canada flight on July 6 tested positive for the virus. According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, the infected individual flew on flight AC8421 from Kelowna to Vancouver.
Passengers who were on board that flight are being asked to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms over a period of 14 days. Dix said he wasn’t sure if the Air Canada case was linked to the downtown Kelowna exposure.
Contact tracing of the Kelowna cases is underway by public health officials and Interior Health says it is reaching out directly to anyone who has been exposed, where possible.
The health minister said he encourages people to travel within the province but only if they show the same respect to the communities they visit as they do at home.
“We can do things out in the world, but we have to be conscious of physical distancing,” he said.
“If we’re going to engage and have events that bring people together in enclosed circumstances in private parties then we have to be conscious of … not just the risk to ourselves but to our parents, to our grandparents and to people we might know who have chronic diseases such as diabetes, and act accordingly.”
As of July 13, there have been 3,115 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. since the start of the pandemic. Of those, 189 people have died.
Testing is recommended for anyone with novel coronavirus symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or a loss of taste or smell, Interior Health said.
“Milder symptoms may include runny nose, fatigue, body aches … diarrhea, headache, sore throat, vomiting and red eyes.”
Anyone with even mild symptoms is urged to stay home and avoid travel.
— With a file from Canadian Press
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Eight new confirmed COVID-19 cases from Kelowna in the past couple of weeks are a reminder of the risks of private gatherings, British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix said on Monday.
Until now, the Interior has had it relatively good, with 99 cases recorded in the Okanagan before Phase 3 of B.C’s reopening taking effect on June 24.
“When people come together for private parties, in this case it was primarily people in their 20s and 30s, the risks are considerably higher,” Dix said.
Interior Health sent out an advisory for people who visited four locations between July 1 and July 9 to self-monitor and get tested if symptoms develop:
• Boyce Gyro Beach Lodge Bed and Breakfast, July 1;
• Cactus Club Restaurant at the Kelowna Yacht Club, July 3-6;
• Pace Spin Studio at 1717 Harvey Ave, July 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9;
• and Discovery Bay Resort on the waterfront, July 1-5.
The cases involved people who live in the Interior, Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health regions, Dix said.