VICTORIA — Health officials are reminding everyone to keep social circles small, particularly in the Fraser Health region, which remains the epicentre of rising case counts in British Columbia.
The province says in a release much of the recent transmission is connected to social gatherings and Fraser Health officials are asking residents to avoid hosting anyone from outside their household.
B.C. reports 299 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths on Tuesday, bringing the death toll from the illness to 272.
The province says 3,017 cases are currently active, including 92 people who are in hospital, while 12,430 people who tested positive have recovered.
The number of health-care sites with infections has ticked up to 29, with 27 outbreaks in assisted-living or long-term care homes and two in acute-care facilities.
Fraser Health has recorded 9,234 of the 15,800 cases in B.C. since the start of the pandemic and it's set to open a new testing centre in Surrey by next Thursday.
There are now 30 known cases of COVID-19 associated with a new community outbreak at Capella Dance Academy in Chilliwack, said Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin, the health authority's chief medical health officer.
She told a news conference on Tuesday there have been some exposures but no transmission within schools in the area as a result of that outbreak.
"One of the things that we have observed (is) that large groups of people exercising together, whether that's in a gym or another setting, does appear to be a higher-risk setting for COVID-19 spread and therefore we will be looking closely at these settings over the coming days and weeks," she said.
Fraser Health president Dr. Victoria Lee said most of their latest infections are linked to other known cases and clusters, indicating public health officials are identifying and following up with people to curb the spread of the illness.
The newest testing centre will be able to process between 500 and 800 tests each day with people dropping in or booking an appointment.
Lee said there are 2,315 active infections in the Fraser Health region and public health workers have followed up with more than 29,000 of their contacts.
She reiterated public health messaging that even small gatherings are risky and the so-called "safe six" contacts should also be the same six people.
The health authority has ordered and distributed 30 per cent more influenza vaccine this year than it did last year, Brodkin said.
"We are actively working with the province to secure more vaccine and that is on its way," she said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2020.
The Canadian Press