People who attended gatherings in downtown Kelowna and the waterfront between June 25-July 6 may have been exposed to COVID-19.

At least eight cases of the disease have been confirmed among people who attended private gatherings or visited bars and restaurants during this time frame, Interior Health said late Friday afternoon.

“Of specific concern are larger Canada Day and holiday weekend events,” IH said in the release.

Of the eight confirmed COVID-19 cases, six are people who live outside the region served by Interior Health.

Contact tracing is underway, the health authority said, and if it becomes aware of specific exposures to COVID-19, it will contact individuals and tell them to self-isolate for 14 days.

But Interior Health says that, in the meantime, anyone who may have been at gatherings in the June 25-July 6 timeframe — a number that would run into the thousands — should be aware they may have been exposed to the virus.

“Given the number of cases and potential locations involved, we are urging anyone who participated in events over these dates to monitor closely for symptoms of COVID-19,” the IH statement read.

Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, loss of sense of taste or smell. Milder symptoms may include runny nose, fatigue, body aches, sore throat, vomiting, and red eyes.

Anyone who develops these symptoms should get themselves tested.

Testing information is on the IH website. Until this concerning late-day development, the COVID-19 news for the Interior had been reassuring.

Statistics released earlier Friday showed patient numbers across IH — a region that includes the Okanagan and the rest of the B.C. Southern Interior — had risen by only one since June 30, from 201 to 202.

The COVID hotspot in B.C. had been the Fraser Health region, which includes Surrey, Burnaby, New Westminster and communities east to Hope, which had 72 new cases this month.

On Friday, 25 new cases of COVID-19 were announced in B.C., 14 of which were in the Fraser Health region.

Since the pandemic began earlier this year, 3,053 British Columbians have tested positive for COVID-19. A total of 2,679 — or 88 per cent — have fully recovered.

One new death due to the disease was reported Friday, bringing the total to 187 in B.C.

There are now 187 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C., with only 16 patients in hospital. The rest are recovering at home in self-isolation.