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B.C.’s Interior Health alerts residents COVID surge ‘becoming a concern’


KELOWNA, B.C. — British Columbia’s Interior Health authority has issued a COVID-19 alert to its residents as cases rise in the region.

The authority says in a statement that it’s concerned by the upward trend and frequency of new local clusters.

The provincial health officer’s order limiting social interactions don’t apply to Interior Health, but it says that it needs the public’s help to prevent further restrictions.

It is asking people to avoid non-essential travel, including unnecessary visits to the Lower Mainland or other jurisdictions with surging COVID-19 cases.

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The provincial health officer issued restrictions last week for the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions preventing social gatherings, indoor physical activities and non-essential travel as cases surged in the two regions.

B.C.’s provincial court has also issued its latest health measure saying the provincial public health office has advised that courts are exempt from the recommendation that masks be worn in all public places.

However, the court says in a statement that all three B.C. courts have issued a joint recommendation that strongly encourages the wearing of face masks in courthouses.

It says those who don’t have a mask will be provided one by a sheriff, although there are exemptions for children under two or for people with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a mask.

Another public exposure has been identified in the Fraser Health authority, this time in a Sikh temple in Abbotsford, B.C.

Health officials warn those who attended the Gurdwara Baba Banda Singh Bahadar Sikh Society on several days between Oct. 26 and Nov. 6 may be at risk.

The B.C. government said more than 100 tickets had been issued to people violating COVID-19 orders.

Among those, 58 tickets totalling $64,000 have been issued to those who broke federal quarantine rules since the pandemic began.

Officials issued another 47 tickets between Aug. 21 and Nov. 9 to people who broke provincial health orders.

Nineteen $2,300 fines went to owners and organizers of gatherings and events. Two $2,300 tickets were issued for violations of orders relating to places that serve food and liquor.

Another 26 tickets valued at $230 were issued to individuals who refused to comply with direction from law enforcement.

The government revealed the ticketing figures as it extended the provincial state of emergency for another two-week period on Tuesday.