A healthcare worker uses a grabber to hand a woman a piece of paper at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A healthcare worker uses a grabber to hand a woman a piece of paper at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

No ‘safe six’ for household gatherings in Fraser Health as region leads B.C. in COVID cases

Majority of new cases are now emerging in Fraser Health

When provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued her latest public health order, she limited the number of people who could gather in a private home to the household, plus their safe six.

But those living in Fraser Health, B.C.’s most populous health authority, have been asked to limit even further.

“In Fraser Health, due to the rapidly escalating case count, we’re going one step further and asking our residents not to hold parties, with people outside their household, inside their home at this time,” said Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin, Fraser Health’s interim chief medical health officer and vice-president, population health.

“But if you would like to have a celebration at home with just your household, that’s great.”

Brodkin said that residents who want to meet up with a few people outside of their household should do so in a venue with a COVID-19 safety plan to reduce transmission. Getting together outdoors is also another option, she noted, but asked people to still stay away from large outdoor gatherings. Currently, B.C.’s limit on gatherings is 50, with physical distancing in place.

READ MORE: COVID Alert app has ‘been a challenge,’ not suitable for B.C. yet

Fraser Health has been a topic of discussion in recent days, and has contributed to B.C.’s high daily COVID-19 case counts in the recent weeks. When 217 cases were announced on Tuesday, 145 of those were in Fraser Health. In total, the health authority – which is home to 1.8 million people – has had 7,674 confirmed virus cases and 119 deaths since the pandemic began. B.C. as a whole has had 13,588 confirmed cases and 259 deaths.

The health authority, which is densely populated and home to multi-generational households, felt it needed to take extra steps to get its case count under control.

“We all have to make sacrifices to bend that curve right now,” Brodkin said, adding that education is key to making sure people understand why new restrictions are put into place.

“Most people want to do the right thing.”

For those who are deliberately breaking the rules, enforcement and fines are a possibility.

But Brodkin said that nixing the “safe six” is not about locking down homes completely.

“Our request is not about about preventing mum from coming over to have a cup of coffee,” she said, nor is it for people caring for out-of-household family.

“It’s about those larger gathering, gatherings celebrations of life, gender reveals.”

For the upcoming Halloween weekend, Brodkin said the same rules apply.

“We are certainly not cancelling Halloween. It’s totally possible to trick-or-treat and try to normalize things as much as possible for the children,” she said.

“A party inside their own household is totally fine.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusFraser Health

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

Just Posted

Masks are mandatory for passengers on board BC Transit buses and for those waiting at covered bus stops. (BC Transit/Facebook)
Masks now mandatory on BC Transit buses, at covered bus stops

Face shields no longer meet face-covering requirements per updated policy

Rose Ellis, 93, and her Shih Tzu, Zoey, have been clients of ElderDog Victoria since last summer. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria ElderDog program seeking more seniors, pups to support

Service helps elderly people to care for their canine companions

Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop is changing owners with longtime owner Odean Long transferring ownership Dec. 1 to William Matthews. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Longtime owner of Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop closes chapter with sale

Odean Long and her late husband moved the business to Sidney in 1996

Mona Strelaeff, a Metchosin resident, is the first non-terminally ill person in Canada to be allowed to use psilocybin assisted therapy. (Provided by Spencer Hawkswell)
Metchosin woman’s trauma treatment could be trendsetting

Experts say this could signal the broadening of who can access psilocybin therapy

Goldstream Food Bank volunteers at work. Light Up the City will be offering various options for the public to drop off non-perishable food items to support this food bank and others in Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can show their charity through Light Up the City

Drive-thru food bank and toy donation dropoff sites open up this Saturday around region

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Most Read