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COVID-19 outbreak at Abbotsford blueberry plant, two deaths in B.C. over weekend

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Jul 27, 2020 at 8:20 pm PDT

As of Friday, 15 people at the Fraser Valley Packers plant in Abbotsford have tested positive for COVID-19. (Fraser Valley Packers/Facebook)
Summary

The province recorded 81 new cases total over the past three days

The 15 cases at Fraser Valley Packers were identified Thursday

Dr. Henry amended the order on mass gatherings, limiting the number of people in rental and vacation accommodations

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — The province recorded 81 new COVID-19 cases over the past three days, including 15 in an outbreak at a blueberry plant in Abbotsford.

The cases at Fraser Valley Packers were identified Thursday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday.

She also reported two deaths, bringing the total in B.C. to 193, as well as an additional case — a resident — on Haida Gwaii, where an outbreak was declared last week.

Both deaths occurred in long-term care in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, while cases on Haida Gwaii are up to 14.

Henry amended the order on mass gatherings, as well, limiting the number of people visiting short-term rentals and vacation accommodations to five in addition to the occupants.

“A maximum of five individuals may attend a social gathering or an event in vacation accommodation, in addition to the occupants,” the amendment said. “The owner of vacation accommodation must require any tenant, guest or other person using the vacation accommodation to comply with the requirement in section.”

Henry added the amendment on mass gatherings includes places such as houses being rented out, boat rentals, cabins, and yurts.

“That means you cannot have a large group of people over to party in your hotel room or on your boat during this period of our COVID summer.”

Henry introduced the order last week after more than 70 people tested positive for COVID-19 following gatherings in Kelowna on the Canada Day long weekend.

She said the onus remains on property owners to enforce the order.

“I will say, as well, that in the Okanagan, in the Lower Mainland and other parts in British Columbia, we have been stepping up compliance checks on restaurants and bars and settings like this, and with the order in place that will facilitate that, as well,” Henry added.

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“I also understand that in places like Third Beach or Second Beach, there’s a very some posters of me that have been put up to dissuade people from congregating in large groups, so maybe that’ll be effective, too.”

Henry said the order doesn’t apply to workplaces, schools, or post-secondary educational facilities, and added clarity to the order, defining a mass gathering.

“We have reinforced again the need to maintain the number of people that can be at a mass gathering with physical distancing and other measures in place at 50 and will continue to stay at 50.”

B.C. recorded 36 new cases from Friday to Saturday, then 21 over the following 24-hour period, and 24 more in the one ending Monday.

With the new cases, the total in B.C. is up to 3,500.

Of 264 active cases in B.C., 11 people are in hospital, including three in intensive care.

Henry said active outbreaks remain at three care facilities, including a care home.

“We now have over 1,010 people who are required to self-isolate B.C. because they have been identified as being exposed to COVID-19 and are at a high risk at the moment.”

Cases by health region since the start of the pandemic: 1,064 in Vancouver Coastal; 1,800 in Fraser; 143 people in Vancouver Island; 353 people in Interior; 80 people in Northern; and 60 people who reside outside of Canada.

Henry said some people from Alberta have introduced the virus in B.C.

“What we need to focus on is ensuring that when we’re here, we’re doing the things that keep us all safe, here,” she added. “And if people are here from Alberta, whether they live here or whether they’re visiting from Alberta, then we need to ensure that they are part of our team in doing the right things here, as well.”

Meanwhile, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control now lists 13 possible coronavirus exposures from flights involving Vancouver since June 3.