Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran addresses media from the front steps of council chambers on March 23, 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)

‘We know people are going to come to Kelowna’: Mayor addresses COVID-19 cluster

The mayor said people need to continue following the advice of the medical health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry

A few lapses in judgement can quickly lead to a “serious situation,” according to Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran.

And, that’s currently where the City of Kelowna finds itself.

On Saturday, July 11, Interior Health announced eight cases and a potential COVID-19 exposure linked to Discovery Bay Resort (1088 Sunset Dr., Kelowna) from July 1 to 5 and Boyce Gyro Beach Lodge (3591 Lakeshore Rd., Kelowna) on July 1.

Cases identified in both Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health were traced back to those parties and the health authorities learned that at least one of those individuals visited the downtown Cactus Club and PACE Spin Studio. An advisory issued on Sunday, July 12, suggested patrons of either of those businesses self-monitor for symptoms.

“We know people are going to come to Kelowna,” the mayor said in a prepared statement on Monday, July 13, following a council meeting.

“However, [provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry] has asked that people coming to our communities from outside regions to use their ‘travel manners’ and respect the physical distancing rules and proper hygiene orders.

“If people don’t do that, the risk of COVID transmission is going to increase… so everyone needs to continue to take this health risk seriously and take the necessary precautions.”

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Basran said businesses in Kelowna are taking precautions, knowing that several of their patrons may be from out of town. Businesses must have an approved COVID-19 safety plan and WorkSafe BC is responsible for enforcing those protocols.

Bylaw and RCMP patrols are also out, monitoring beaches and parks to educate people on physical distancing when they see a need for it.

However, the mayor said there isn’t enough staff to have constant monitoring at every park.

“We also, on top of this, have every other issue we have to deal with: homelessness, addiction issues, mental health issues and crime. To strictly have our officers out just doing COVID enforcement is not realistic,” Basran told members of the media following the council meeting.

When asked if he had concerns about further community outbreak, Basran again pointed to the provincial health officer.

“I think she has stated that, yeah, there’s going to be transmission of cases as a result of opening things up,” he said. “So, we’ll just have to monitor and see what she says as the numbers come out each day.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


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