B.C. extends COVID-19 regulations through holiday season

Photo courtesy of B.C. government Flickr.
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Island Health reported 45 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend and one additional death. There are now 101 active cases in the central island region, 67 in the south and 31 in the north, according to Island Health’s online dashboard. 

There are currently 10 people hospitalized with the virus in Island Health, four of whom are in critical care, according to the B.C. government’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Provincial health orders put in place last month, including a ban on gatherings outside of immediate households were extended until Jan. 8.

“We cannot afford to have a rebound and have an increased number of people being sick and ending up in hospital in the next few weeks. We need to hold the line and continue to bend our curve,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer.

Across the province there were 2,020 new cases over the weekend and 35 deaths. There are now 9,380 active cases in B.C. — of these, 349 people are hospitalized, 77 of whom are in critical care.

Henry announced B.C. will get its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine next week, but did not say how many doses are expected. The vaccine is still pending approval at the federal level.

“We are not going to have enough in the first few months that it’s going to make a difference in community transmission, so that’s why we all have to be continuing to follow our COVID safety plans but we will be able to protect those people who are more likely to end up in hospital — who are more likely to die from this virus,” Henry said.

An exception was added to gathering restrictions for drive-in and drop off events — this will allow a maximum of 50 vehicles to gather, but attendants must stay in their vehicle with member from their immediate household only, according to Henry.

“This year we must spread good cheer without spreading COVID-19. This year home for the holidays means staying home for the holidays to stop the spread and keep everyone safe,” said Adrian Dix, minister of health.

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