Coronavirus Canada Update: British Columbia officials advice against large gatherings

Coronavirus Canada Updates: Manitoba's health minister reflects on 2020 COVID fight
Coronavirus Canada Updates: Manitoba's health minister reflects on 2020 COVID fight

Health officials in British Columbia continue to warn against large gatherings where alcohol is involved, as the province tries to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“Our task this summer was to renew B.C. without reactivating the virus. … The number of cases is climbing, the number of people in self-isolation is disturbing,” said B.C. health minister Adrian Dix.

“We need to say ‘enough’ to private parties where alcohol is being used and physical distancing is impossible.”

As of Monday, there are 1,765 people who are being monitored with daily check-ins, since they were in contact with a previously identified case. Of the 131 patients that were identified over the weekend in B.C., the “vast majority” were on the list as part of contact tracing efforts, said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Names continue to be added to the list as COVID-19 exposure warnings add up across the province. Most recently, a “night rave” prompted a public warning in Surrey, B.C., for people who attended the gathering on July 31, Aug. 1 and Aug. 2.

Last week, three police officers in Vancouver tested positive after breaking up an “out of control” party of more than 100 people.

“What I can tell you is that parties and gatherings with young people that many of whom you don’t know — even if there are fewer than 50 people — are a concern,” said Henry, as officials continue to see a spike in cases among those under 40 years old.

“We know that when alcohol is involved for many the precautions that we would normally take can diminish. So if your friends invite you to a party and it doesn’t feel right, don’t go. There’s no better excuse than a global pandemic.”

Exposures due to gatherings have been a key concern for B.C. ever since two hotel parties around Canada Day in Kelowna led to dozens of cases around the province, as well as possible exposure warnings for a variety of businesses.

As of Aug. 10, there are 445 active cases in B.C., compared to the 187 there were on July 10.

On Monday, health officials also provided their weekend update. No one died of COVID-19 in British Columbia between Friday and Sunday, but the province did record 131 new cases of COVID-19.

It now marks the 10th straight day that B.C. has not recorded a COVID-19-related fatality. Of the recently recorded cases, 51 were identified on Friday, 37 on Saturday and 44 on Sunday.

The update increases the province’s total case count to 4,065. That includes 3,425 people who have recovered, and 195 victims. There are now nine people in hospital and three in intensive care. Henry also announced two new healthcare outbreaks, at the George Derby Centre, and the New Vista Care Centre. Both centres in the Fraser Health region.

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