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B.C. allows regional COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings in private homes

Last Updated Oct 31, 2020 at 2:56 pm PDT

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

Medical health officers can increase regional restrictions on gatherings in private homes as provincial order amended

The province reported 272 new cases of COVID-19 and another death the day before Halloween

Of the new cases, 183 are in the Fraser Health region, while another 76 are in Vancouver Coastal

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) -– The provincial health order limiting the number of people allowed to gather in private homes, other properties, and for events has an added provision allowing medical health officers to increase regional restrictions.

None have been imposed yet, as the province reported 272 new cases of COVID-19 and another death the day before Halloween.

Of the new cases, 183 are in the Fraser Health region, while another 76 are in Vancouver Coastal.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday that adding regional specific orders regarding gatherings in private homes was a possibility. Her original order, issued Monday, limits the number of people in private homes to those who live there and six others total.

“Now is not the time for parties or large gatherings in our homes. Instead, let’s spend time with others in a safe way, outside or in venues that have COVID-19 safety plans in place,” Henry says in a joint statement Friday.

“The provincial health officer order limiting the number of people who can visit our home is in effect and surveillance will be increased for the weekend ahead,” Henry says.

The amended order recognizes the risk of transmission differs in regions around the province and that “medical health officers are in the best position to assess local circumstances and to determine whether or not additional or more restrictive steps need to be taken to reduce the risk arising from people gathering together.”

It says further that medical health officers “may add further prohibitions, or impose more restrictive limitations or conditions, with respect to gatherings and events” — including private residences, private clubs, meetings or conferences held in hotels or any other place — in their respective geographic areas.

For the 14-day period ending Thursday, Fraser Health had almost 2,000 cases, according to data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. Vancouver had 387, while Richmond recorded 51.

B.C. has had 14,381 cases since the start of the pandemic. Almost two-thirds of those have been in Fraser Health. More than a third have been in Vancouver Coastal.

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The province didn’t announce where the latest death happened. Total deaths are now 263.

A new community outbreak has been linked to the Suncor Firebag Oil Sands in Alberta. Outbreaks were also announced at three more care homes: at Hawthorne Seniors Care Community in Port Coquitlam, CareLife Fleetwood in Surrey, and Queen’s Park Hospital in New Westminster.

Outbreaks at the Fort Langley Seniors Community, Sunset Manor in Chilliwack, and Good Samaritan Victoria Heights in New Westminster have been declared over.

In total, 24 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and two acute-care units have active outbreaks.

Of 2,390 active cases, 78 people are in hospital, including 25 in intensive care.

A further 6,003 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases.

“As we all enjoy Halloween tomorrow, make it about the treats and not the tricks. Respect homes that are choosing not to participate this year and give everyone the space to stay safe, both indoors and outdoors,” Henry says.

“Let’s make this weekend a safe and fun experience by keeping our groups small and by practicing our COVID-19 sense.”