There are now 20,985 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in B.C. after health officials announced 617 new cases Friday.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reports that there have been 130 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 424 in the Fraser Health region, 16 in the Island Health region, 42 in the Interior Health region, and 5 in the Northern Health region.
There have been no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
There have been three new health-care facility outbreaks at Sun Pointe Village, Capilano Care Centre and Fraserview Intermediate Care Lodge. The outbreaks at Queens Park Hospital, Lakeview Care Centre, Yaletown House and St. Michael’s Centre are now over. In total, 35 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and six acute-care facilities have active outbreaks.
There have been no new community outbreaks and the outbreaks at Coast Spas and Pace Processing are now over.
There have been two new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 290 deaths in British Columbia.
Of the total COVID-19 cases, 167 individuals are hospitalized, 50 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation. As well, 12,016 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases.
There are 5,579 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 14,901 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.
“As yesterday’s modelling update clearly showed, this is a critical time for everyone in our province. We need to act now to protect our loved ones, our Elders and our communities," said Henry.
“When faced with a resurgence of COVID-19, it can be difficult to muster the strength to keep moving forward, yet British Columbians continue to show unwavering resilience and fortitude to support friends and neighbours in our communities and take care of those who are most at risk, by following the orders and using our layers of protection.
“This weekend, we encourage everyone to have a safe start to Diwali celebrations by staying home, limiting your travel and connecting virtually instead.
“Now is the time for everyone, right across our province, to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 - to be leaders by working together with a common purpose to push our curve back down.”
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.