Revelstoke weekly COVID-19 update: 25 new cases recorded in lastest period

The number of new COVID-19 cases detected in the Revelstoke LHA increased again this week as concerns about the provincial government's transparency on reporting VOCs grows.

A BC Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by Local Health Area in B.C. for the week of Mar. 28 to April 3, 2021. Image: BC Centre for Disease Control

New COVID-19 cases detected in the Revelstoke Local Health Area have increased again in the latest weekly recording period. There were 25 new cases in Revelstoke between Mar. 28 to April 3, up from the previous weekly period when there were 18 new cases.

It is the second-highest weekly number for the Revelstoke LHA since the province began reporting case numbers weekly by LHA in November. The highest to date was 37 during the month of Dec. 27–Jan. 2.

Revelstoke population vaccinations rises to 12.8%

Vaccination rates have risen significantly in Revelstoke during the past week, when the provincial government announced a “community specific” vaccination program for Revelstoke.

Currently, according to Interior Health, 1,365 residents have been given a first dose, and 60 a second dose. Based on the Revelstoke LHA population of 10,696, that means that about 12.8% of residents have been vaccinated with a first dose.

This is a jump from last week, when 785 residents, or 7.3% of the population had received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 60 had received a second dose.

Health authorities do not provide the number of active cases in a community, one of many data points not available at the LHA level.

B.C. health authorities not reporting variants of concern by LHA

B.C. health authorities are not providing information on the location of COVID-19 variants of concern (VOC) by Local Health Area.

Currently, this means that if VOCs are detected in Revelstoke, public health will not disclose that information.

Local Health Areas (LHA) are the smallest division of health regions in B.C. The largest entities are health authorities; Revelstoke is in the Interior Health region. The next subdivision is the Health Service Delivery Area (HSDA). Revelstoke is located in the Thompson-Cariboo-Shuswap HSDA. Finally, Revelstoke is its own Local Health Area, which includes the city and surrounding rural areas.

On April 5, an Interior Health spokesperson confirmed that the information is not provided by LHA.

On Mar. 31, Interior Health released VOC case numbers for the entire health region.

In total, there have been 70 variants of concern detected in the region, five of which were active as of Mar. 31.

They were a total of 70 VOC cases as of Mar. 31:

-B.1.1.7 (UK): 42 (of which one is active)
-B.1.351 (South Africa): 1 (zero active)
-P.1 (Brazil): 27 (of which 4 are active)

In a media statement released with the update, Interior Health said that there had been “a few small clusters” of the P.1 variant, “but those have been contained to households.”

As of April 5, that number had increased to 103:

-B.1.1.7 (UK): 59 total cases (three active)
-B.1.351 (South Africa): 1 case (zero active)
-P.1 (Brazil): 43 cases (2 active)

They also said that protocols for contact tracing and case follow-up “are the same for all forms of COVID-19.”

Numerous media reports this week have pointed to delayed, incomplete data on VOCs in B.C., warning that the numbers may be much higher than what is being reported by government officials.

In a April. 7 statement, the Opposition BC Liberals issued a statement urging the B.C. government to be transparent with data and provide information on the spread of VOCs.

“People are scared for their families, anxious about their jobs and worried about the future,” said Shirley Bond, Interim Leader of the Official Opposition. “They’re looking for government to provide leadership, to tell them why decisions are being made and why other actions are not being taken. The Premier seems to think trusting British Columbians with the right information is inappropriate — he’s wrong. We need to know the real picture of how widespread the variants of concern are here in B.C. so we can understand what needs to be done to fight the virus together.”

Interior Health looking into vaccine scheduling issues

Although many residents reported no issues registering to book their COVID-19 vaccine, others reported significant issues, including refusals from telephone operators who didn’t seem to have the up-to-date information.

An Interior Health spokesperson issued a statement on the issues: “Interior Health recognizes that Revelstoke residents have had some challenges booking appointments under our community-specific approach. We are sorry for any confusion and frustration, as we ramp up immunizations in the area,” they wrote, noting people 18-plus can now register. “Our priority is to have everyone in the Revelstoke area booked as quickly as possible, with upwards of 500 appointment available for each clinic day.”

Generally, residents who are eligible have reported some success with simply calling back for another operator if they are first refused.

Currently, all Revelstoke residents aged 18-plus are eligible to register.

Province to make announcement on small business relief April 8

In an April 7 statement, the B.C. government announced an April 8 media availability for a relief program targeting businesses affected by the new Mar. 30 COVID-19 health orders, which closed down in-person dining, indoor group exercise classes and more. “Media are invited to join Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery, and Innovation, for an announcement about funding supports for businesses impacted by the temporary public health orders put in place on March 30, 2021,” the B.C. government April 7 statement read.

A busy week for Revelstoke COVID-19 news

A new community specific vaccination program for Revelstoke was accompanied by some confusion over who could book an appointment when, one of many local COVID-19 related updates in the past week. For those stories, see our COVID-19-specific page for local pandemic-related stories.

Update: Cumulative case counts updated

Later in the day April 7, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control updated the cumulative total for COVID-19 cases in the Revelstoke LHA. The total since the start of the pandemic to the end of March is 253. Based on a Revelstoke population of 10,696 used by health authorities, that is about 2.3% of the Revelstoke LHA population.

Correction: A previous version of this story said the most recent Interior Health VOC numbers were from April 7. In fact they are from April 5, and the story has been updated to reflect that.

This post was published by a member of the Revelstoke Mountaineer staff. Stories published under the staff byline include news briefs, stories that consist mostly of media releases, social media post shares, and stories by contributors with the author's name listed in the body of the story.