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B.C. health minister shares stern message as more COVID-19 cases linked to parties

Last Updated Aug 7, 2020 at 6:17 am PDT

FILE - Health Minister Adrian Dix. (Courtesy B.C. Government, Flickr)

B.C.'s health minister has a stern message for those not following COVID-19 guidelines: 'that's enough, now'

Frustrations come as more people test positive for COVID-19, linked to large gatherings

B.C.'s Dr. Bonnie Henry noted we're seeing more transmission when large groups of people gather

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With another weekend upon us, B.C.’s health officials are clearly getting fed up with people still partying in large groups and ignoring COVID-19 guidelines.

The frustrations come as we learn a third of the people who tested positive over the August long weekend got the coronavirus at local house parties.

“The numbers of contacts related to that are in the 400 range so we do know, even though they may have been smaller, individual parties, the overlapping groups meant that there’s a large number of people who were potentially exposed,” B.C. Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Thursday.

“So that’s our warning right now; that’s where we’re seeing the virus get a chance to transmit to potentially large numbers of people. So of the, you know, 1,500 and some people who are in quarantine right now because they’ve been exposed, a good proportion of them are related to those types of social settings.”

As the number of infections connected to large gatherings continues to rise in B.C., the province’s Health Minister Adrian Dix was out with a stern message: enough is enough.

“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,” he said at the daily COVID-19 briefing. “Refusing to accept the COVID-19 changes everything. It puts all of us at risk and all that we aspire to do and be this summer.”

He added it’s time to put an end to table hopping, packed house boats, and free-for-all parties at homes.

Dr. Henry noted we’re seeing more transmission when large groups of people gather. She urged British Columbians to continue to keep their bubbles small.

“This is not the time to start expanding widely for those types of community contacts,” she said. “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.”

A recent shift in the age of people testing positive for COVID-19 — those under 50 — has been linked in part to people gathering in larger groups.