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B.C. needs to do better managing COVID-19: top doctor

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Aug 10, 2020 at 4:16 pm PDT

FILE - Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (Courtesy B.C. Government)
Summary

The majority of the 131 new cases of COVID-19 over the past three days were on the province's exposure contact list

Dr. Bonnie Henry remains concerned about large gatherings and parties, many involving people in their 20s and 30s

Some fines were levied and parties broken up on weekend, but province didn't disclose where or how much

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — The majority of the 131 new cases of COVID-19 over the past three days were among the more than 1,700 people on the province’s exposure contact list.

“And that means that, as they developed their illness, they were isolated and they no longer exposed others, breaking those chains of transmission,” Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday.

“This is incredibly important because this is how we know we can manage with the cases that we’re seeing here in British Columbia.”

Most of the 1,765 names on the close contact list were exposed to the coronavirus during recent gatherings.

“Having said that, we need to do better collectively to stop these exposure events from happening,” Henry said.

She remains concerned about large gatherings and parties, many involving people in their 20s and 30s.

“And we have seen that. We saw that on the July 1 long weekend. We’ve seen it across the province, where people have been coming together and having group gatherings with different people and not maintaining distances, safe distances from people they don’t know,” Henry added.

To combat such behaviour, she said some fines were levied and parties broken up on Sunday, but didn’t disclose where or how much.

“We know that when alcohol is involved for many the precautions that we would normally take can diminish. So, your friends invite you to a party and it doesn’t feel right, don’t go,” Henry said.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said new COVID-19 cases mainly consist of younger people.

“And when we talk about younger people, we’re talking about people between 20 and 39. And so I think it’s not fair to describe or ascribe all of that to youth. There are people in those categories with lots of experience who are struggling with this,” he said.

Dix added it’s not fair to blame those who have tested positive.

“There are people who may have gone to parties who didn’t test positive and who aren’t sick, and their circumstances and the circumstances of those who are should be the subject of care, and not the subject of scorn.”

Henry said the next two weeks will again be critical in bending the pandemic curve back down, as case counts have spiked since the beginning of July.

“We are in a time when we know people can unknowingly spread the virus to others, particularly young people who are feeling well,” Henry added.

“There’s no better excuse than a global pandemic to be able to do the right thing and encourage your friends to do the right thing, too.”

Of the new cases, 50 were reported from Friday to Saturday, followed by 37 for the next period, and 44 more for the one ending Monday.

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No new deaths were recorded for the 10th straight day. The total remains 195 in B.C.

Two new outbreaks also occurred at care homes in the Fraser Health Authority over the weekend.

One is at the George Derby Centre long-term care facility, separate from Derby Manor, where an outbreak was declared last week.

The other is at New Vista Society, a care home in Burnaby.

Henry said eight outbreaks remain active at healthcare facilities.

“All of the newer outbreaks that we’ve had have been identified with a single case, which tells us that we’re catching things earlier and there are screening protocols for every healthcare worker going into every setting every day,” Henry said. “And those are helping. And we are also identifying people who are contacts.”

She added some of the care home cases have been related to social events, not just workplace outbreaks.

Total cases in B.C. are up to 4,065.

Of 445 active cases, nine people are in hospital, including three in intensive care.

Cases by health region since the start of the pandemic: 1,220 in Vancouver Coastal; 2,139 in Fraser; 148 in Vancouver Island; 391 in Interior; 96 in Northern; and 71 people who reside outside of Canada.