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Community transmission linked to numerous COVID-19 exposures in schools, says B.C.’s top doctor

Last Updated Feb 16, 2021 at 9:25 pm PST

FILE -- Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at a lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Summary

Dr. Bonnie Henry continues to blame widespread community transmission of COVID-19 for numerous school exposures

B.C. reports 1,533 COVID-19 cases since Friday and 26 deaths

Province extends the state of emergency another two weeks

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Unauthorized social gatherings are responsible for four out of every 10 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and a surge in exposures linked to schools, according to the province’s top doctor.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during the COVID-19 briefing that the rate of community transmission needs to come down after she reported another 26 people have lost their lives to the virus.

“We need to hold each other accountable right now for stopping the spread because that’s what’s going to get us into the spring where we have enough vaccine to protect people, and what we’re seeing in schools right now reflects the transmissions we’re seeing in our families and our communities,” she said Tuesday.

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Since Saturday, 124 new school exposures were listed by the popular BC School COVID Tracker on Facebook.


While she insists social gatherings, which are banned under provincial health orders, should not be happening, Henry said 50 people recently attended a game night somewhere in the Fraser Health region. That area has nearly 900 new cases of COVID-19.

“We in Public Health can not be everywhere. We can’t be in every pub or restaurant or business all at the same time,” she said.

“Fifteen people from that event, which is against orders, became infected and spread to several workplaces, to schools and to a child care centre.”

With 60 cases of COVID-19 variants confirmed in B.C., Henry adds the risk of community transmission remains high.


Tuesday was the first COVID-19 update since Friday, and 1,533 new infections were reported over that period.

There are 231 patients in hospital because of COVID-19, with 74 of them being in intensive care.

Since immunizations started, 171,755 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given. Of those, 22,914 are second shots.

The state of emergency was extended once again to March 2. It is the longest state of emergency in B.C.’s history and is approaching one year since it was implemented.

-with files from Mike Lloyd and Hana Mae Nassar