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B.C. confirms 1,959 new cases of COVID-19, for total of 22,944

There have been nine new COVID-19 related deaths
Dr. Bonnie Henry gives provincial update. Photo: Screengrab.

There are now 22,944 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in B.C. after health officials announced 1,959 new cases Monday.

Three of these new cases are epi-linked.

There have been 654 new cases from Friday to Saturday, 659 from Saturday to Sunday and 646 from Sunday to Monday.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reports that there have been 455 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,361 in the Fraser Health region,41 in the Island Health region, 87 in the Interior Health region, and 14 in the Northern Health region.

There has been one new case of COVID-19 from someone who resides outside of Canada.

There have been 11 new health-care facility outbreaks at Al Hogg Pavilion, Jackman Manor, George Derby Centre, Kiwanis Care Centre, Columbus Residence, Holy Family Hospital, Arbutus Care Centre, PICS Assisted Living, Village by the Station, Hamlets at Westsyde and Burnaby Hospital. The outbreaks at Haro Park Centre, Pinegrove Place, the Village at Mill Creek and Rosemary Heights Seniors Village are now over. In total, 41 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and seven acute-care facilities have active outbreaks.

There have been two new community outbreaks at the Platinum Athletic Club and at Cambridge Elementary school.

There have been nine new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 299 deaths in British Columbia.

Of the total COVID-19 cases, 181 individuals are hospitalized, 57 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation. As well, 10,928 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases.

There are 6,279 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 16,087 people who tested positive have recovered.

Public alerts and notifications are posted on the BC Centre for Disease Control’s (BCCDC) website and on all health authorities’ websites.

“Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the individual efforts of people in B.C. have helped to keep our hospitals, schools and workplaces open, and to protect the ones we love," said Henry.

“It is the small yet essential efforts, like staying home when ill, not having social gatherings, minimizing our travel, maintaining a safe distance from others and using masks, that have a big impact.

“Today, we have seen that much of the transmission is occurring in private homes at social gatherings, at workplaces where people are gathering, or in risky indoor settings, like group fitness activities. These are all locations where there are limited layers of protection and people are not wearing masks.

“Masks are especially important in businesses and public spaces, on transit and ferries, when we are around people we don’t know and are unable to keep a safe distance. This also includes indoor public places like shopping malls, stores and community centres.

“It is important to remember that businesses are required to ensure the health and safety of their employees and right now, that means a requirement to have COVID-19 safety plans in place to operate.

“In addition to such things as barriers, having fewer people in spaces and health screening, masks are the cornerstone of many COVID-19 safety plans and should be included for all businesses or organizations that have public areas or require employees to gather. For customers who cannot wear a mask, businesses can provide virtual or curbside service instead.

“Equally important, employees and customers are required to abide by these safety plans. You wouldn’t ask a business owner to operate outside of their posted business hours, nor should you expect them to bend their COVID-19 rules for you.

“This is a critical time for all of us. Getting through this surge in new cases and through this pandemic requires all of us to do our part and support each other to do the same. It is how we reduce our risks and protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.”

New Public Health Order 

The new provincial health orders restrict social gatherings of any size with anyone outside of your immediate household, as well as indoor group physical activities, including yoga, spin, group fitness and dance classes.

Basically, indoor locations "where people are increasing their heart rate," Henry said. "We have seen repeatedly, not just here, but around the world, that these are venues that we see rapid spread of this virus, even with people who don't recognize that they are ill."

That ban also applies to indoor competitions and games where physical distancing cannot be maintained, including sports such as minor hockey. However, Henry said, "these activities can be replaced with the individual exercise of practice and drills," as B.C. similarly permitted prior to the province's restart of its sports programs, so long as it "allows everyone to maintain safe physical distancing." 

Public health officials are also recommending "in the very strongest terms" that British Columbians avoid travel into and out of the two health regions. "We need to go back to what we were doing in March and April and May, where it was essential travel only," Henry said. 

That includes a ban on travelling into or outside of the two health regions for sports, for the time being. 

Restaurants are permitted to remain open for the time being, on the condition that each establishment adheres to COVID-19 safety plans. If that isn't possible, Henry suggested that they revert to take-out only service.

Party buses and limousines are also ordered to cease operations for the two-week period. 

--With files from Megan Lalonde.

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