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

Just Posted

Parking time is to be limited in one spot on 9th. (Houston Today photo)
District seeks grant to update bylaws

And decides on 15-minute parking

Bench installation on 9th Street is another sign the project is nearing completion. (Houston Today photo)
Progress being made on 9th Street finish

District aiming for June completion

File photo
Mental health checks proving valuable

Police officer and nurse team up each week

The two billboards for the Cow Moose Sign project arrived in Topley last week with Justin Cradock, owner of Pitbull Trucking Ltd. and the area is now getting prepared for installation. (Dan Simmons photo/Houston Today)
Cow Moose sign project billboards arrive in Topley

Two billboards for the Cow Moose Sign project have arrived in Topley… Continue reading

File photo
Snow clearing changes would cost money, survey finds

Council being asked to give direction

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth debates the province’s latest measure to control crime, March 10, 2021. The legislation allows police to impound vehicles used to transport weapons and further restricts sale of vehicle and body armour. (B.C. legislature video)
B.C. seeking ways to ‘name and shame’ gangsters, minister says

Mike Farnworth appeals to family members to talk to police

Jonathan Prest had to climb way up to the top of a dead red cedar tree to rescue a terrified cat, but he made it up and down successfully. (Facebook photos)
Tree cutter rescues cat stuck 100 feet up a dead and dried-out cedar

Jonathan Prest put himself in extreme peril to get a terrified cat out of a dangerous situation

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

Italian-Canadian prisoners at the Kananaskis prisoner of war camp in Alberta. (University of Calgary/Contributed)
Italian moved to Okanagan with hope; he ended up being sent to a WWII internment camp

Raymond Lenzi shares his grandfather’s story ahead of Canada’s planned formal apology to Italian-Canadians

Then-minister Rich Coleman, escorted by Victoria Police, makes his way to the east wing amid a protest blocking the legislature entrances before the throne speech in Victoria, B.C., Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. money laundering inquiry testimony ends today with reappearance of Rich Coleman

Responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, Coleman been recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month

Colin Dowler rests in hospital recuperating from wounds suffered from a grizzly bear attack north of Campbell River. He was able to end the struggle by stabbing the bear in the neck with a knife like the one he is holding. Photo submitted
‘Bad-ass dude that took on a grizzly bear’ doesn’t let 2019 B.C. attack bring him down

Campbell River’s Colin Dowler gets on with his life as his rehabilitation continues

Most Read