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

Carmen Robinson was last seen getting off a bus in View Royal the evening of Dec. 8, 1973. Her case remains unsolved 47 years later. (Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Gone cold: Fate of View Royal teen remains a mystery, 47 years after her disappearance

Carmen Robinson, 17, was last seen exiting a bus in View Royal in December 1973

Parkland Secondary principal Lizanne Chicanot stands by the track which is the subject of a fundraising effort. The 35-year-old track is well beyond its best-before date. (Jason Earnshaw/Submitted)
Fundraising campaign to replace North Saanich track off to the races

Track at Parkland Secondary School ‘well, well beyond its best-before date’

Island Health is expanding COVID-19 testing in Nanaimo with a new testing location at Vancouver Island University. (News Bulletin file photo)
Island Health issues apology over racist practices in health care system

Report by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond finds ‘widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people’

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak hits first Greater Victoria hospital

Island Health declares outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital

The Sooke School District is actively looking for more bus drivers after they had to cancel a handful of bus routes in late November. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bus driver shortage cancels routes in Sooke School District

More drivers needed to accomodate expanding bus routes amid pandemic

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

A teacher places the finishing touches on the welcome sign at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Sept. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hindsight 2020: How do you preserve a year many Canadians would rather forget?

Figuring out how to preserve the story of the pandemic poses a series of challenges

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are inviting audiences into their home for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’. (Submitted)
Natalie MacMaster coming to you through Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Here’s your chance to enjoy the famed fiddler in an online show with her husband Donnell Leahy.

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Most Read