B.C. confirms 516 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 more deaths

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Health officials in B.C. confirmed another 516 cases of COVID-19 on Friday and 10 more deaths, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

The new numbers, the lowest recorded daily number since Nov. 5, come one day after Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced wide-ranging new rules for controlling the spread of the disease.

They include mandatory masks in indoor public and retail spaces and restricting social gatherings for everyone in B.C. to household members only.

As of Friday, there were 7,122 active cases of the virus across the province including 227 patients in hospital, of whom 57 were in intensive care.

"We are all feeling the strain of COVID-19. By taking a step back right now, we will all be able to enjoy the confidence in knowing that here in B.C. we have flattened our curve once again," said Henry and Dix in a joint news release.

The Fraser Health Authority continues to lead the province with new infections. On Friday, there were 294, which represents 57 per cent of the new cases.

There were 148 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, which is 29 per cent of the new caseload.

The Island Health region had 17 new cases, there were 31 new cases in the Interior Health region and 25 more in the Northern Health region.

A total of 10,002 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases.

No new community outbreaks were announced on Friday, but there were three new health care facility outbreaks: Agecare Harmony Court Care Centre in Burnaby, Discovery Harbour Care in Campbell River and the Youville Residence in Vancouver.

Later on Friday, Vancouver Coastal Health declared an outbreak in a unit at North Vancouver's Lions Gate Hospital, where a number of patients have tested positive for COVID-19. An adjacent unit has been placed under enhanced surveillance to prevent spread of the disease.

On Thursday, Henry and Dix announced a long list of new measures meant to stem the second wave of COVID-19 to "relieve the stress" Henry said was being placed on the province's health-care systems.

An earlier order limiting social gatherings in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions was expanded to the entire province until at least Dec. 7.

That means no one should be meeting for social reasons with anyone outside of their immediate household, although a distanced walk with a friend or arranging for grandparents to pick up the kids from school is still acceptable.

People who live alone can create a small exclusive "bubble" with one or two others, Henry said.

On Friday, the province reiterated the importance of the new rules.

"The orders will help us slow the spread of COVID-19; to relieve the pressure on our health-care system and reduce the risks within our communities," it said in its statement. "The provincewide orders are about all of us seeing fewer people, having safer workplaces and pausing higher risk activities."

The new mandatory mask mandate is a requirement for workers and members of the public to wear face coverings in all retail environments, restaurants and indoor public spaces, including common areas of workplaces, except when eating or drinking.

The order for mandatory masks does not include schools.

High-risk indoor group fitness activities, including high intensity interval training, hot yoga and spin classes are suspended as well.