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Due to a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the Columbia Valley in recent weeks, local residents 18 years of age and older in regional communities can begin booking vaccine appointments, starting Monday, April 19.

A clinic will be run out of the Invermere Catholic Church Monday to Friday between April 19-May 12, but area residents still need to register and book their immunization appointments.

Only local residents are eligible to book and receive the COVID-19 vaccine, says Interior Health.

“Immunization clinics will verify postal codes at the time of appointments,” reads a statement from Interior Health. “We are aware of some instances of people traveling from other regions to seek vaccinations in these communities. This not only takes away from the calculated vaccine supply for the community but may also potentially expose residents to COVID-19 when people travel from other regions.”

Eligible communities for vaccination in the Columbia Valley include Radium Hot Springs, Spillimacheen, Brisco, Edgewater, Invermere, Windermere, Fairmont Hot Springs and Canal Flats.

In the last two weekly reporting periods, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control has reported over 50 cases in the Windermere Local Health Area (LHA), which includes a large swath of the Columbia Valley.

COVID-19 numbers are also rising in adjacent LHA regions, including Cranbrook, Kimberley and Creston.

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