The data from the latest BCCDC reporting period. Image courtesy of B.C. Centre for Disease Control

Cluster mostly confined to Fernie: Sparwood Mayor

David Wilks said only a handful of cases were elsewhere in the Elk Valley

Hot on the heels of the community cluster declaration, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control has updated it’s numbers for the Fernie local health delivery area between Jan. 17 and Jan. 23, with 44 cases identified in that reporting period.

Earlier today (Jan. 27), Interior Health (IH) declared the Fernie local health area to be a community cluster of COVID-19 cases, reporting 81 cases had been identified since Jan. 1. 63 are currently active cases.

With the area now declared a cluster, IH said that the Fernie area would receive more timely updates on cases, with the next update scheduled for Friday Jan. 29, instead of next week.

The Fernie local health area is defined as communities served by the Elk Valley Hospital – including the entire Elk Valley and the South Country, but according to Sparwood Mayor David Wilks, most of the cases are concentrated in the community of Fernie itself.

“What I am understanding is a lot of the cluster is in Fernie, and I am told that we have very few if any cases in Sparwood,” said Wilks, who encouraged Sparwood locals to reconsider travel to Fernie until the cluster was under control.

“Don’t go to Fernie unless there’s a a need to … until Fernie can calm this cluster down, we would prefer that citizens of Sparwood do what is needed, which is stay home, stay in your bubble, keep your distance and be aware of your surroundings … so we can ensure that within the District of Sparwood we can keep this to a minimum.”

IH has not released raw data on the number of positive cases within each community, with the most granular information available only at the local health area level.

Wilks said that even though the cases appeared concentrated within the Fernie community, he supporting the officials and health workers across the valley seeking to put a lid on the community cluster. “We are the Elk Valley and we support each other very well.”

READ MORE: Fernie area declared community COVID-19 cluster by Interior Health
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