The mayor of Peachland is asking residents to please consider wearing a mask.
Cindy Fortin took to Facebook over the weekend to express her concern about the spread of COVID-19.
“We’ve finally had some beautiful sunny days in the Okanagan, and as we make our way outdoors with a feeling of relief after a slow and rainy start to the summer, it’s easy to forget that we’re in the middle of a very serious pandemic,” she said.
Fortin, who used to be a nurse, said she has heard from her constituents that they are sick and tired of dealing with the pandemic.
“As a former nurse, trust me, it’s no fun to have your breathing and oxygen levels so compromised that you need to be on a ventilator,” said Fortin. “We were doing well in B.C., but we now have had a stark demonstration on how quickly just a small group of people can spread this deadly virus amongst the population.”
Fortin’s comments come as COVID-19 cases skyrocket in the Okanagan.
Between July 10 and July 23, health officials identified COVID-19 in 107 Okanagan residents — most of those diagnoses coming in the last week. The increasing local numbers stem from private parties in the city in early July, in which people from the B.C. Interior, the Lower Mainland and Alberta all intermingled. Exposure alerts were put out by Interior Health for several local businesses that those people may have attended.
As of Monday, July 27, 81 more cases of COVID-19 were reported in B.C., reaching a total of 3,500 people infected since the pandemic began early this year.
Daily infections have been running in the double digits for the past two weeks as summer activities have picked up.
Fortin addressed the concern that a COVID-19 case has been identified in Peachland.
“I have no doubt it’s true, and that there are even more cases. Unfortunately, the province and Interior Health will not even inform local mayors of any cases in their community. I’ve been unhappy about that for months, and have let them know that during teleconferences with provincial ministers and mayors,” she explained.
However, as she could not confirm that a COVID-19 case is in Peachland, she instead is asking residents to act as if the virus is in the community and to wear a mask.
“I would like to see all people out and about in Peachland in public places or buildings required to wear face coverings. For those who feel it’s an infringement on their rights, what about other people’s right to be healthy? Seatbelts, helmets, not drinking and driving, those are all things we do (or don’t do) for our safety and that of others,” said Fortin.
She went on to explain that she believes Peachlanders to be strong enough to make it through this difficult time and encouraged everyone to social distance.
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