Mayor Alan Harrison speaks about the pandemic and the community. (File photo)

Mayor Alan Harrison speaks about the pandemic and the community. (File photo)

Column: Looking at ways to keep community healthy

Mayor’s Report by Alan Harrison

Here are some facts regarding COVID and vaccinations in the Salmon Arm area.

Eighty-three percent of residents over the age of 50 in our area (Sorrento through to Sicamous) have had their first COVID vaccination. Seventy-eight percent of this age group are fully vaccinated.

Fifty-nine percent of residents between the ages of 18 and 49 have had their first COVID vaccination.

Forty-eight percent of this age group are fully vaccinated.

From January 2020 through to July 2021, there were 398 positive COVID cases in our area. The highest single week in this time frame was Jan. 5-12, 2021, when 55 cases were reported. In May, June and early July 2021, the case counts in our area were low. Many weeks were single digit numbers. Some weeks zero cases were reported.

Since mid-July the positive case counts in our area have been trending upwards: 16, 24, 48 and, the most recent week reported, Aug. 15 to 21, 79 cases.

Interior Health reports that 90 per cent of new cases are amongst unvaccinated people.

Ninety-three per cent of those hospitalized due to COVID are unvaccinated.

In mid-August, new orders from our provincial health officer came into effect in the Central Okanagan.

Those orders were then extended to all of Interior Health. New orders, provincewide, have since been announced.

Many events have been cancelled since the pandemic began.

Our last big community event was Rogers Hometown Hockey in March 2020. We have missed the Roots and Blues, the Fall Fair, the Salty Dog, the Loppet, WOW, Alexander Plaza, Remembrance Day ceremonies and an array of others.

Family get-togethers, reunions, Christmas, Thanksgiving, sports, faith gatherings, school events and many more have been curtailed.

It has been particularly challenging for businesses, especially those who rely on tourism to succeed. Restrictions to take-out only, numbers of patrons and hours of service, have made it difficult to make ends meet.

Frontline workers have been the heroes of this pandemic. As the pandemic stretches on, fatigue sets in.

School starts soon.

Currently, there is not a vaccine for those 12 years of age and under.

We do not want to go back to the way things were last winter.

The good news is there are things we can do to prevent the need to return to these restrictions. There are things we can do to help keep our community healthy.

Wear your mask in indoor public spaces. Maintain physical distance when in public spaces. Get vaccinated.

Thank you for doing your part.

Read more: Four people test positive for COVID-19 at Shuswap long-term care facility

Read more: COVID-19 entertainment passports a ‘nudge’ for vaccine ‘complacent’
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Salmon Arm council