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Dr. Henry: Step back from social interactions

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 3:56 PDT, Mon September 28, 2020

Last Updated: 10:43 PDT, Tue September 29, 2020

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry continues to encourage British Columbians to keep their social groups small as new cases and hospitalizations continue to occur.

“Whether the curve goes up further, stays the same or goes down relies on us,” said Henry. “The best thing we can do, all of us, is take a step back from our social interactions right now. I’m asking you to travel less, to see fewer people, to stay with your household and your safe six and connect with others, the other important people in your life, virtually. You can make a difference by making these safe choices now in how you spend time with others.”

Henry said contact tracing shows the main source of transmission in BC continues to be events where people are socializing with others. 

She also announced the weekend’s numbers: 68 new cases from Friday to Saturday, 125 from Saturday to Sunday and 74 since mid-day Sunday. The weekend’s total was 267 new cases, 10 of which are epidemiologically linked. BC has had 8,908 cases since the pandemic began.

There are 1,302 active cases. Sixty-nine people are in hospital, with 22 in critical care, representing a slight increase from last week. There are 3,372 people under active public health monitoring as a result of exposure to known cases. 

Sadly, there were three new deaths over the weekend—one each in Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, and Island Health—bringing BC’s total to 233. 

There were three new healthcare outbreaks over the weekend: Holy Family Hospital in the Vancouver Coastal region, and Thornebridge Gardens and Harrison West at Elim Village, both in the Fraser Health region. A single staff member is associated with each outbreak. Sixteen active outbreaks continue in the healthcare sector, with the outbreak at Burnaby Hospital declared over.

There was one new community outbreak announced in the Interior Health region. Five cases are now related to an event at a Kelowna church.

In response to several questions about school exposures, Henry clarified that all health authorities are now consistently posting school exposures. Students do not need to self-isolate unless advised to by public health.

“I would encourage parents to recognize that exposure events do not mean that your child has been exposed to COVID-19,” said Henry. “Unless you’ve had a call directly from public health, you don’t need to worry about that, and we are being very transparent and putting up where those exposures might have happened. Just because there’s been an exposure event does not mean that you need to keep your children home.”

There has been some transmission, she added, in groups of young people who are socializing outside the school setting.

Henry also added some details about the national guidelines for Halloween celebrations, which she said are in the works and should be finished later this week after being adapted for use in BC. While big parties will not be possible this year, Henry said it will be possible to celebrate safely in small groups, hopefully outside, and with pre-packaged individual candy for trick-or-treaters.

“One of the nice things of course with Halloween is that mask wearing is often part of it, so we would encourage that as well,” she said.

For a list of community exposure events, click here.
For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and testing, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.

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