Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has announced new restrictions on private gatherings in homes after confirming a record high 817 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend and three more deaths — the largest number of new cases in B.C. in a three-day period.
The province is seeing the result of increased social gatherings over the Thanksgiving weekend and the mounting cases are “concerning,” Henry said.
Henry’s new provincial health order restricts gatherings in private homes to no more than immediate household members and six additional people — a number she acknowledged may still be too many for some households, depending on space.
Henry said it has become clear gatherings of fewer than 50 people are not always safe.
“We need to pay more attention to those settings where we have people coming together for celebrations,” Henry said.
“This is going to be a challenge, more for some people than others. But this is something we need to do as a community.”
She also said it is now an “expectation” that British Columbians wear non-medical masks in public, stopping short of making them mandatory.
The new numbers cover a three-day reporting period since Friday, with 317 cases recorded between Friday and Saturday, 293 cases between Saturday and Sunday, and 207 cases between Sunday and Monday.
There are now 2,325 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C., with 77 people in hospital, including 26 in intensive care.
To date, 13,371 people have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. As of Monday, 5,077 people are under active monitoring by public health workers because of potential exposure to the virus.
There are four new active outbreaks in long-term care, with 21 active ongoing outbreaks in the health care system (19 in long-term care and two in acute care facilities.)
There is one new community outbreak at the Surrey Pretrial Services Centre.
On Monday, the Fraser Health authority declared COVID-19 outbreaks at two more Lower Mainland long-term care homes, according to a statement. Staff members at both Amenida Seniors Community in Surrey, B.C., and Agassiz Seniors Community in Agassiz, B.C., have tested positive for the virus.
More to come