COVID-19 test kit. (Courtesy photo)

COVID-19 test kit. (Courtesy photo)

COVID-19: ‘several cases’ confirmed in Okanagan Indian Band community

OKIB Health says individuals are self-isolating, no wider concern for community safety

Several cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed within the Okanagan Indian Band community, according to a member bulletin released Thursday.

The current cases have been traced to a Christmas get-together. In line with more general reports from public health officials in B.C., the OKIB Health team expects to see another spike in the coming days related to New Year’s celebrations, according to the Jan. 7 bulletin.

OKIB officials said the OKIB Health team is not concerned about public safety and the individuals who tested positive are self-isolating in accordance with the band’s pandemic response protocols. But as the bulletin states, the cases confirm the current risks of social gatherings.

“We can flatten the COVID-19 curve and make a meaningful impact on our community by following the protocols,” said OKIB Chief Byron Louis. “We did it in the spring and summer and we can do it again if we act now. Listen to the health experts and be a leader by helping to protect your community.”

READ MORE: B.C. shifts reporting to get COVID-19 information out faster

The news comes as 95 new cases were reported in Interior Health, Thursday. Meanwhile, Revelstoke and Vernon lead the North Okanagan and Shuswap regions in new cases over the turn of the new year — 76 in Vernon and 37 in Revelstoke from Dec. 27 to Jan. 2.

Chief Louis and council reminded members that a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 is a health issue, not necessarily an indication of poor judgment; those who follow pandemic protocols are at a lower risk of contracting the virus but are not immune.

“Only the vaccine can assure immunity at the present time,” the bulletin states. “It would be wrong to blame someone for catching a cold and it is no different for COVID-19.”

The bulletin states COVID-19 vaccines for OKIB members are expected to begin arriving sometime in the first quarter of 2021, though quantities may be limited.

READ MORE: Moderna vaccine distributed to remote, rural Interior Health communities

In the event of a positive case, the OKIB Health team collaborates with Interior Health to ensure containment by quarantine and to limit further spread through contact tracing. Those affected will be contacted by OKIB Health or Interior Health directly.

Band members with questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 can call 250-241-7595 to speak to an OKIB nurse Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. More information is available online at

READ MORE: Revelstoke, Vernon lead latest COVID-19 numbers in North Okanagan-Shuswap

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coldstream students took over the Your Letters page in the April 9, 2021, edition of the Vernon Morning Star to offer advice to adults about COVID-19. Interior Health took notice and offered their praise. (Vernon Morning Star)
Coldstream students’ COVID advice praised by Interior Health

Grade 2 and 3 classes from Coldstream Elementary took over the Morning Star’s Letters page April 9

Members of the Okanagan Screen Arts Society received a cheque for $1,500 Thursday, April 15, 2021. The funds are to help the society’s efforts as they prepare take over operation of the Vernon Towne Cinema at the end of July. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon dealership gives Towne Cinema a lift

Vernon Watkin Motor Ford, in business for more than 100 years, donated to the theatre with nearly as long a history

Interior Health’s overdose prevention site in Vernon is saving lives. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon’s controversial overdose prevention site saving lives

Site sees fewer problems than expected, but some still want it moved

Vernon Jubilee Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Vernon Jubilee Hospital

The outbreak affected four staff, 10 patients and led to three deaths in just over two weeks

Black Crow Cannabis is just one of Vernon's many pot shops now open in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Kelowna has highest cannabis fees in Okanagan

Vernon’s 14 stores pay second highest business licence fees

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

Old English design elements can be seen in the sign of the Summerland Farm and Garden Centre in 1993. The guidelines are no longer in place, but some downtown businesses still show aspects of the days when Summerland had a theme in place. This photo was taken by Summerland photographer Dan Dorotich. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Summerland’s Old English theme has been abandoned

From the 1980s until the early 2000s, Summerland had design guidelines in its downtown

Penticton bylaw officers tore down a “pretty significantly sized” homeless camp underneath the bridge near Riverside Drive Friday, April 16 morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton bylaw tears down ‘significantly sized’ homeless camp under bridge

Many residents had made complaints about the camp before it was torn down

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Most Read