Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. Government photo)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. Government photo)

Lower Mainland residents face new restrictions after another 567 new COVID-19 cases reported in B.C.

Surging cases prompt new restrictions and stern warning

There are new restrictions coming for British Columbians after a week of surging COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Saturday that another 567 people had tested positive for COVID-19. One more person has died. The last week has seen record numbers of new cases, with 589 reported Friday.

Of the new cases, 411 were in Fraser Health region, and 122 cases were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. More than 100 people are in hospital, with more than 30 in critical care. Henry also announced one new healthcare outbreak, at The Residence in Mission.

As of Saturday, Nov. 7, at 10 p.m., new restrictions will be in place for the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions – but excluding Hope, the Central Coast and Bella Coola Valley. The new orders will be in place for two weeks and are only for the two Lower Mainland regions – although Health Minister Adrian Dix warned that people in other regions must step up adherence with existing orders. The orders expire Nov. 23 at 12 p.m.

Click for more details.

The new restrictions include bans on indoor group physical activities – except for school activities– along with visits to others households. Funerals and weddings can only proceed if they are held with members of one’s own household. No receptions will be permitted.

Henry said that it may be possible for people who live alone to visit with, and be included in, the “bubble” of close family members in another home. The new orders are focused on socialization and don’t affect day care, or those providing child care.

Churches can remain open, so long as they continue to abide by existing regulations.

Restrictions regarding outside visitations and in restaurants remain in place. But Henry said inspectors will be “cracking down” on those places where rules aren’t being followed.

Henry said people should stop non-essential travel into, or out of, the two Lower Mainland health regions. Henry said she is “advising in the strongest terms that people need to stay in their local community, reduce their social interactions and travel when it’s essential.”

Anyone operating indoor group physical activities must stop holding activities until updated safety plans are in place. Those safety plans must be approved by local health officers.

The specific sports-related order is that “Indoor sports where physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as boxing, martial arts, hockey, volleyball and basketball are suspended for two weeks. These activities can be replaced with individual exercise or practice, that allows everyone to maintains a safe physical distance.”

Gym activity can continue, if people undertake those activities individually and are appropriately distanced.

The restriction on sports travel apply also apply to outdoor sports.

Henry said workplaces must also review their COVID-19 plans, and should consider ways to reduce risks. Break rooms, kitchens and small offices are specific areas of concern.

“We have seen measures slip in some businesses and that has led to transmissions.” Henry said employers should support people working from home “if that is possible.”

Henry said enforcement will be stepped up to ensure employers and workers are abiding by COVID-19 orders.

“We have had many instances of transmission in people’s homes,” she said. “We are seeing a steady and worrisome increase of people with serious illness requiring hospitalization and critical care.”

She added that party buses and limousines are ordered to stop operating “until further notice, effective immediately.”

Henry said the province’s strategy had revolved around maintaining enough capacity in the health care system to help both those with COVID-19, and those with other ailments.

She said those efforts, and the goal of keeping businesses and schools open, are “in jeopardy.”

“Provincial health orders are always a last resort, but right now, these orders are needed,” Henry said.

Asked about the prospects of keeping schools open, Henry said there have been little transmission of the virus within those facilities, although children have contracted COVID-19 elsewhere in the community and then come to school, prompting exposure notices.

“Schools are not amplifying this virus, they are merely reflecting what is going on in the community.”

Although the new orders are for the Lower Mainland, Dix said that people in other regions of the province “should keep your guard up.”

He noted that those regions are also seeing higher case counts recently.

“What is required now is to remember the provincial health orders that are in place and follow the orders.”

FRIDAY: 589 new COVID-19 infections, 2 deaths reported in past 24 hours in B.C.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Kitimat RCMP are requesting assistance locating 24-year-old Teah Wilken, who was last seen getting on a bus at City Centre Mall in Kitimat around 6:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 23). Kitimat RCMP Facebook photo.
Kitimat RCMP requesting assistance locating missing woman

Wilken last seen getting on bus at City Centre Mall in Kitimat around 6:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 23)

The Nisga’a Nation activated its pandemic safety protocols Nov. 20 after a positive COVID-19 case in the Terrace area was identified. (Nisga’a Lisims Government photo)
Nisga’a Nation reverts to phase one pandemic restrictions

Tightening of precautions follows discovery of positive case in Terrace

Cases have gone up in Northern Health in the past week, as they have all over B.C. (K-J Millar/Black Press Media)
Northern Health reports new highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

Nineteen cases were reported to Public Health last Tuesday (Nov. 17)

New COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of the in-person portion of the second annual Festival of Trees event scheduled for Nov. 20 -21 in Terrace. (Pexels)
In-person event cancelled, online auction still a go for Terrace’s Festival of Trees

Dr. R.E.M. Lee Hospital Foundation was planning to host the event at Heritage Park

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Phillip Tallio was just 17 when he was convicted of murder in 1983 (file photo)
Miscarriage of justice before B.C. teen’s 1983 guilty plea in girl’s murder: lawyer

Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old cousin

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
VIDEO: How do the leading COVID vaccines differ? And what does that mean for Canada?

All three of the drug companies are incorporating novel techniques in developing their vaccines

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Most Read