The latest data from the BCCDC. Cases are reported here by local health area. Up until now, the North Thompson local health area, which goes from just south of Clearwater to north of Blue River, had zero cases per 100,000 population. The area now has 3. The communities of Little Fort, Barriere, Sun Peaks and Simpcw First Nation, while part of the North Thompson Valley, are part of the Kamloops local health area. (BCCDC image)

Three of Interior Health’s new cases in the North Thompson

North Thompson local health area includes just south of Clearwater to north of Blue River, whereas Barriere, Sun Peaks and Little Fort are within the Kamloops local health area.

Since the BCCDC started to provide COVID-19 data by geographic distribution, the North Thompson had been the colour white to show zero as an average daily rate per 100,000 population — that number is now three and the colour a light yellow.

In a post to Facebook, Mayor Merlin Blackwell said his sources suggest two would be in Wells Gray Country.

“It’s here, behave like it’s here,” the post continues. “have a safe, socially distanced New Year’s.”

The three new cases appear on the BC CDC’s most recent geographic map by local health area, dated Dec. 20 to 26. Interior Health announced 57 new cases overnight, and there were 239 new cases between Dec. 24 and 29. The total in the area is now 3,806. Total number of deaths has risen to 28, and there are 36 people in hospital.

The BCCDC map is reported based on local health authority. The health boundaries in British Columbia are separated by health authority (i.e., Interior Health), then into health service delivery areas (i.e., Thompson Cariboo Shuswap) and finally into local health area (i.e., North Thompson, not to be confused with the North Thompson Valley region, as is widely recognized by the public).

Communities within the North Thompon local health area include Clearwater, Vavenby, Avola and Blue River. The boundaries stop just south of Valemount.

The communities of Little Fort, Barriere and Sun Peaks are a part of the Kamloops local health area, which has had confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Both Sun Peaks and Simpcw First Nation have confirmed cases, four and two, respectively.

Simpcw First Nation posted to their Facebook page on Dec. 31 that they had been notified of a second postive case of COVID-19 connected to the community and a potential exposure in the Simpcw offices. Simpcw’s first confirmed case was made public on Dec. 20.

An internal review is underway, according to the notice, that includes contact tracing. The exposure happened Wednesday, Dec. 23.

The province’s last restrictions are still in effect and will be until they are reviewed in the new year on Jan. 8 at midnight. In-person events and community-based gatherings are suspended (with exceptions), masks are mandatory in all indoor public settings and shared living areas (outside is a safe place to be without a mask, while socially distanced) and continue to provide about two metres of space between yourself and others.

Daily cases in British Columbia have declined in recent days, with 382 diagnosed cases reported Tuesday, 441 on Monday, 424 on Sunday, 447 on Saturday and 512 cases last Friday, Christmas Day. Daily reported test results also declined during the holidays, down to 4,675 on Tuesday after reaching highs of as much as 15,000 tests day during November and early December.

With files from Black Press

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