B.C. announces 287 more cases of COVID-19 and 2 new deaths

·3 min read

B.C. health officials announced 287 more cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and two new deaths.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Stephen Brown, B.C.'s deputy health minister, said there are 2,316 active cases of people infected with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus in B.C.

There are currently 87 people in hospital, 17 more than last Wednesday, with 25 in intensive care.

With today's deaths, the provincial death toll stands at 261.

Public health is actively monitoring 5,358 people across the province, who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure.

The statement from the province said there is one new health-care facility outbreak at PICS assisted-living facility in Surrey, and one new community outbreak at the Okanagan Men's Centre.

In total, 21 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and one acute-care facility have active outbreaks.

Outbreaks at Dr. Al Hogg Pavilion and at Delta Hospital have been declared over.

New restrictions on private gatherings

B.C. introduced new restrictions on private gatherings in homes after confirming a record high 817 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend. The new provincial health order from Dr. Bonnie Henry restricts get-togethers in private homes to no more than immediate household members and a "safe six" additional people — a number she acknowledged may still be too many for some households, depending on space and number of people already living together.

Henry said it has become clear gatherings of fewer than 50 people are not always safe.

"The new order is about ensuring what happens in our homes is in step with what we are doing elsewhere. Just as we need to keep our groups to no more than six when we go to restaurants, we must also keep our groups small at home," said Wednesday's statement.

"Let's save the parties for when it is safe for everyone to celebrate."

In a statement, Interior Health president and CEO Susan Brown said that positive cases from an ongoing outbreak at École de L'Anse-au-sable have risen from 15 to 16.

More than half of the identified COVID-19 cases in B.C. are in the Fraser Health region, despite the area only accounting for 39 per cent of the population.

Fraser Health said people in the region need to start limiting home gatherings to only those who live in the house, except the occasional family visitor — stricter than Henry's "safe six" rule, but necessary due to the far higher local rate of transmission.

Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin, chief medical health officer for Fraser Health, said the region seems to be a hot spot for COVID-19 because it has the highest density of multi-generational people living in close proximity to each other, making it easier for the virus to circulate.

It is now an "expectation" that British Columbians wear non-medical masks in public, according to Henry.