834 new COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths in B.C.

“We strongly recommend and ask everyone in B.C. to not travel right now, unless it is absolutely essential for work or medical care”

DR. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, on Wednesday announced 834 new COVID-19 cases, including three epi-linked cases, for a total of 34,728 cases in British Columbia.

There were 12 new COVID-19-related deaths, and the total number of deaths in the province now stands at 469.

There are 8,941 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 337 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 79 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

Currently, 10,201 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and 24,424 people who tested positive have recovered.

There are 174 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 529 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 20 in the Island Health region, 66 in the Interior Health region, 45 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There are three new health-care facility outbreaks at Royal City Manor, West Coast General Hospital and Saanich Peninsula Hospital. The outbreaks at Cottage-Worthington Pavilion, Discovery Harbor Care and Orchard Manor are over.

There are two new community outbreaks at Cove Shelter and Millennium Pacific Greenhouses.

Henry and Dix added: “We recognize that COVID-19 is taking a toll on all of us. After many months of restrictions on who we can see, where we can go and what we can do, we are all feeling the fatigue.

“Many, many people are doing all they can to help in our COVID-19 response. Yet, this is the time for all of us to do that little bit more, to do our part to slow the spread in our communities until vaccines are available – in a few short weeks.

“This virus moves quickly and easily between us. We are continuing to see unchecked transmission in many places, despite the efforts of our public health teams and contact tracers. That is why, during this second surge, the need to follow the provincial health orders is so important.

“We need to stay local, we need to stay small and we need to avoid those public settings that, right now, are a risk for all of us.

“We strongly recommend and ask everyone in B.C. to not travel right now, unless it is absolutely essential for work or medical care. This includes travel within B.C. and between provinces.

“A provincial health officer (PHO) order cannot stop you from getting into your car or onto a plane, but I am asking in the strongest of terms to not travel unless it is absolutely necessary.

“If a family member is planning to return home for the holidays, then it is critical they follow all of the orders and guidelines here in B.C., which means no socializing and no gatherings of any kind.

“From the outset, we have spoken about the importance of getting outside and staying active. However, we remind everyone that no matter where those activities are taking place, there is to be no travel and no spectators.

“We have seen that if we maintain our distance, we can be outside, we can go to parks and play games without close contact.

“However, we continue to see that indoor group activities – whether for fitness or team sports – are much higher risk right now. The details of sports activities have been added to the order on events and gatherings. This order is available on the PHO website.

“The order requires that right now, all indoor group high intensity fitness activity is prohibited. This includes: hot yoga, spin, aerobics, bootcamp, dance classes, dance fitness, circuit training, and high-intensity interval training.

“Low intensity fitness activity like yoga, Pilates, tai chi, stretching and individual fitness activity is also suspended until new guidelines are available to resume these activities safely.

“These new guidelines will be available next week and will require some changes to COVID-19 safety plans. Approval is not needed for the updated plans, but monitoring and enforcement will be targeted to these locations and activities.

“All indoor adult team sport is also prohibited. This includes basketball, cheerleading, combat sports, martial arts, floor hockey, floor ringette, ice hockey, ringette, netball, skating, soccer, squash and volleyball.

“Structured child and youth programs and sport are permitted, but must meet and follow the ViaSport Phase 2 requirements.

“We know the restrictions put an added burden on what is an already difficult time for all of us, but they are what is required right now.

“Despite the fatigue, let’s stand strong against this virus. We are asking everyone in B.C. to please do a bit more right now and help everyone to see us through to the light ahead.”