British Columbia reported 817 new cases over the weekend and three new deaths. No new cases were reported in the Island Health region.
A new provincial health order was introduced today by Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, that will limit household gathering to household members, plus “safe six” only.
“We are now seeing some of the effects of family gatherings that happened on Thanksgiving weekend. These are important celebrations, but we are in the middle of a pandemic and we need to take safety precautions to make sure we are not passing on the virus on to people that we care about, people we are closest to,” Henry said.
She said she is hopeful enforcement will not be necessary, but said it will be increased for people who disregard the order.
There are currently 2,325 active cases of the novel coronavirus in the province. Of these, 77 people are in hospital — 26 in critical care. Henry said there are 5,077 people under public health monitoring.
“This is a bit of a sobering weekend for us. This is the largest number of cases that we have had in a three day period and it is concerning to us that we continue to see growth,” Henry said.
Henry said it is now an expectation for British Columbians to wear non-medical masks in public spaces and encouraged businesses to review their COVID-19 safety plan.
“It’s not an order because I know this is something we support as part of our mutual responsibilities to protect ourselves and protect each other,” she said.
Provincial health officer orders are a last resort, Henry said. The virus transmits more easily in the winter and the new order reflects how serious people must take the pandemic going into the regular cold and flu season Henry said.
“This is something we need to do together as a community, so that we can get through the coming respiratory season and best protect each and every one of or families and our communities,” she said.