Interior Health has set up a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline

Interior Health has set up a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline

Castlegar doctors and mayor urge residents to take COVID-19 seriously as cases are confirmed in the city

“Your doctors would like you to understand we do now have Covid cases here”

Castlegar’s doctors are urging area residents to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously.

“Your doctors would like you to understand we do now have COVID cases here,” reads a letter sent to Castlegar News by Castlegar doctor Ellen Smart on behalf of local doctors.

“It is a difficult time to ask you to redouble your efforts to keep our cases low. It is especially important now as our hospitals are already struggling with capacity issues as the winter months bring more usual illnesses.

“Your patience, practices and kindness have been keeping us well for a long time. Please circle the wagons, including support for families affected for just a little longer.”

On Thursday evening, Castlegar’s mayor and council issued a similar statement.

“We have just been made aware there are active cases of COVID-19 in Castlegar,” reads the statement.

“We feel a responsibility to share this message and encourage the community to take immediate action to keep case numbers low.

“Right now we need to ramp up, and double our efforts, to avoid outbreaks like other communities have experienced.

“COVID-19 could hit anyone in our community and it can have devastating impacts.

“We know the last nine months have been extremely difficult and we sincerely appreciate the sacrifices everyone has made to keep the community safe. We’re asking you to continue those efforts and be more vigilant than ever.”

Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 3, there have been 70 test-positive cases of COVID-19 in the Kootenay Boundary health service delivery area. In the two week period spanning Nov. 20 to Dec. 3 there were 13. Regional statistics are updated weekly.

Local health area statistics are only updated monthly, and the most recent data available covers January through October. During that time frame there were 10 cases in Castlegar, 10 cases in Trail, 12 cases in Nelson, two in Arrow Lakes, three in Grand Forks and three in Creston.

The Kootenay Boundary health service area is part of Interior Health (IH). IH numbers have been on the rise in recent weeks with more than 570 active cases as of Dec. 2.

There are now at least 46 cases associated with a community cluster in Revelstoke. B.C. Premier John Horgan disclosed on Dec. 2 that the cluster was associated with people travelling to the area for skiing.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also noted that another Interior cluster was linked to sports travel after a hockey team visited Alberta. Henry said “dozens” of people have been affected and the virus has spread in the community, but she did not say which community.

Testing is available for people with cold, influenza, or COVID-19-like symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, loss of sense of taste or smell, body aches (muscles and joints aching), diarrhea and headache.

Tests can be scheduled by calling 1-877-740-7747 or online through Interior Health.

RELATED: COVID-19 case confirmed at Castlegar secondary school



betsy.kline@castlegarnews.com

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