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47 new COVID-19 cases again in B.C., large gatherings a 'welcome mat' for transmission

Last Updated Aug 6, 2020 at 8:18 pm PDT

FILE - Dr. Bonnie Henry. (Courtesy B.C. Government, Flickr)
Summary

The province recorded 47 new COVID-19 cases for the second straight day

New cases in B.C. some involving crew members on a U.S.-registered marine vessel

Province announces outbreaks at two more outbreaks at long-term care homes

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — The province recorded 47 new COVID-19 cases for the second straight day Thursday, and health officials issued a stern warning about risky behaviours.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said some of the new cases involve a U.S.-registered marine vessel, but did not indicate how many of the 10 crew members are infected.

She also announced outbreaks at two more long-term care homes. They involve single staff members at Richmond Lions Manor Bridgeport and Joseph and Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre, at Vancouver General Hospital.

“But as you know, even a single case, we treat very seriously in our healthcare system,” Henry said.

The 47 new cases are among the highest daily totals – following 50 on Friday — since late April.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the new cases are disproportionately in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions, and increasingly involve large gatherings.

“I want to say something to those who organized private parties, to those who are attending them, and those who are thinking of other ways to hold large gatherings in the middle of a global pandemic: enough. That’s enough, now. Refusing to accept that COVID-19 must change everything puts all of us at risk, and all that we aspire to do, and to be this summer,” he added.

“Let’s be clear: it’s not the location of the behavior, it’s the behavior in the location. Whether it’s table-hopping, or on packed houseboats, or the free-for-all parties in the private residences, large groups over an extended time period are the biggest welcome mat there is for COVID-19. It’s time to stop putting out that welcome mat.”

Earlier in the day, the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority also warned about COVID-19 exposures at Lions Bay Beach Park.

Henry added a summer camp instructor in Vancouver has also tested positive for COVID-19 and is now in isolation along with others.

“But no other new cases that I’m aware of, at this point,” she said.

Many of the new cases continue to involve a younger demographic — people in their 20s and 30s.

“We’re now seeing a shift to a younger demographic,” Henry said. “We’ve seen that across the country and in other places, as well. And that is a combination of younger people getting together in the summer and some of the partying that we have seen, yes. But it’s also the demographic of the businesses that are opening up, so that restaurants, we know that it’s younger people who are servers at restaurants and bars.”

Henry also confirmed more than 40 people are in isolation following a recent party in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

“The numbers of contacts related to that are in the 400 range.”

More than 1,500 people in the province are currently in isolation, many related to an exposure event in Kelowna on the Canada Day long weekend.

Henry reminded people to continue to keep their bubbles small.

“This is not the time to start expanding widely for those types of community contacts. So that’s where we’re seeing some of this transmission happening where people are going to parties in enclosed environments, and they’re spending time with people, for prolonged periods of time — talking, laughing, singing, sharing drinks, and other things. And that’s where transmission is happening right now,” she said.

“We know this virus is going to be in our communities for many months to come,” Henry added.

“And we have adopted our activities, we’ve done what we can to minimize transmission, we’ve started to see some increase in cases. But we have put layers of protection in place.”

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The health and safety precautions and restrictions that allowed businesses and schools to reopen worked and will continue, she said.

“We’ve shown this. We know that these things work.”

No deaths were recorded for the sixth straight day. The total number of deaths in B.C. from COVID-19 remains 195.

Total cases are up to 3,881.

Of 371 active cases, 11 people remain in hospital, including five in critical care.

Cases by health region since the start of the pandemic: 1,143 in Vancouver Coastal; 2,045 in Fraser; 146 in Vancouver Island; 385 in Interior; 93 in Northern; and 69 involving people who reside outside of Canada.