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Henry stresses caution for long weekend ahead

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 3:41 PDT, Mon July 27, 2020

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urged people to stay safe and be cautious during the upcoming BC Day long weekend.

“Start planning today for what you’re going to be doing to make your BC Day long weekend a safe weekend,” she said during a briefing today. “Go play outside, but play safe.”

Before planning activities, Henry said it’s important to assess the risk factor. Are you meeting with people who are already in your bubble? Will there be adequate space to stay apart? Are you spending a short time together?

“If you can’t say yes to all of these questions about the risk, then say no to that activity and choose something else instead,” said Henry.

She added that the order on mass gatherings was amended today to limit the number of people in short-term rental spaces including houseboats and cabins. Five guests, in addition to the capacity of the space, is the maximum number of people allowed.

The owner of each property is responsible for ensuring that the order is adhered to, and to ensure contact tracing information is collected for anyone staying at or visiting their property.

She also announced that there have been 81 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, for a total of 3,500 in BC.

There were 36 new cases from Friday to Saturday, 21 from Saturday to Sunday and 24 since Sunday. Seven of the weekend’s cases were epi-linked, meaning that public health investigations have shown that cases meet the case definition for COVID-19 but may not have been tested for a number of reasons.

There were two new deaths over the weekend, both Vancouver Coastal Health residents in longterm care.

There were no new healthcare outbreaks, with active outbreaks continuing at one longterm care and two acute care facilities. There was one new community outbreak at a blueberry packing plant in the Fraser Health region, which is associated with 15 cases so far.

The Haida Gwaii outbreak announced Friday is now associated with 14 cases. Over 1,010 people are required to self-isolate due to exposure to the virus.

“This is not forever, but it is for now and we know we can do this,” said Henry. “We bend the curve, not the rules.”

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