By Steve Hubrecht
[email protected]

Final week of 2021 saw 15 per cent of all COVID-19 reported here in last two years

The number of COVID-19 cases in the local Windermere Health Area more than tripled in the final week of last year.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) reported 23 COVID-19 cases in the Windermere Health Area (which encompasses the Columbia Valley from north of Spillimacheen to south of Canal Flats) during the week leading up to Christmas (Dec. 19 to Dec. 25). But by the end of the following week, between Christmas and New Year’s Day (Dec. 26, 2021 to Jan. 1, 2022) the number of cases had jumped to 70.

Data for the first week of 2022 (Jan. 2 to Jan. 8) was not available as of Pioneer press time. The rise in the Windermere Health Area mirrors similar rises in other nearby health areas in the East Kootenay, including the Golden Heath Area (which went from 17 cases to 81), the Kimberley Health Area (which went from 11 cases to 25), and the Cranbrook Health Area (38 cases raised to 94).

A great many anecdotal suggestions flying around the Columbia Valley last week alluded either to the rising number of Omicron variant cases right across B.C. or to the large infux of visitors in the Columbia Valley over the Christmas holidays. Golden, Kimberley and Cranbrook all also have significant winter tourism industries and typically see an increase in visitors during Christmas holidays. No local officials have made comments on what specifically may be driving this rise, and readers should bear in mind that such anecdotal suggestions are unproven.

The 70 cases reported in the Windermere Health Area during the final week of 2021 represent 15 per cent of all COVID-19 cases reported here since the pandemic began almost two years ago.