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COVID-19 exposures increase among sports groups, 549 new cases in B.C.

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Oct 13, 2020 at 5:14 pm PDT

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Summary

B.C. recorded 549 new COVID-19 cases over the past four days as health officials worked to resolve a testing backlog

COVID-19 exposures connected to recreational sports have forced some facilities to close says Dr. Henry

Henry said athletes should pick one team and one league to participate in, not multiple

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — B.C. recorded 549 new COVID-19 cases over the past four days as health officials worked to resolve a testing backlog, while increased exposures connected to recreational sports have forced some facilities to close, according to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“Recently, over the last weeks, we’ve seen an increase in community exposures connected to recreational sports like hockey and soccer as they’ve started slowly to restart,” she said.

“The result has been that some sports facilities have needed to close, or to shut down for periods of time.”

Henry said physical activity is important for overall health — especially for young people — and she’s encouraged people to go outside and to be active since the start of the pandemic.

She added sports facilities, leagues, and organizations needed to have a COVID-19 safety plan to resume activities after pausing earlier this year, and health officials continue to work with them to ensure safety.

“And like the recent NHL playoffs, the plans have prioritized the players over the spectators. And I know that’s a challenge for some people who want to be there to support their children, in particular, who are playing on teams,” Henry said.

“But we also know that spending time socializing or cheering with other parents and fans before, during, and following games increases risk of transmission and exposure for families.”

She added that’s why there are restrictions on spectators in arenas and on sidelines.

“And it’s important for all of us to think about our cumulative interactions. The more time we spend with others in one area means we have to be careful about spending less time in another area.”

Henry said athletes should pick one team and one league to participate in, not multiple.

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“If your children are involved in activities after school, pare them down so that they’re not exposed to large numbers of different groups of people on different days.”

Henry said the case total over the four-day reporting period were higher than she would like.

The province set a daily record with 170 COVID-19 cases between Friday and Saturday, while the following periods had 159, 119 and 101, for 10,734 total in B.C. since the start of the pandemic.

The previous record was 165 cases in a single day.

Henry also reported five more deaths related to COVID-19, for 250 overall.

She said the cases numbers were affected by a backlog of 6,000 tests, which has since been cleared up.

“These tests identified new community cases and exposures, which tells us again that our testing strategy is working, and that the backlog has now been cleared and we are working to make sure it stays that way,” she said.

The percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 remains stable.

“We continue to be under two per cent,” Henry said.

“Despite the thousands of people getting tested — 39,170 tests from Oct. 10 to 12 — our positivity rate remained, as I mentioned, at 1.39 per cent. And this is where we want to be.”

Henry also reported four new health care outbreaks over the past four days.

Of 1,476 active cases in B.C., 77 people are in hospital, including 24 in critical care.