The BC confirmed another 998 cases of COVID-19 and five more deaths from the disease in the past two days, as people on the Lower Continent began to live under new strict restrictions designed to prevent transmission.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provided the latest update in a live interview on Monday, saying the number of active cases across the province has increased to a new record 4,891. Hospitalization rates have increased again and there are now 133 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including 43 in intensive care.
The province has confirmed a total of 18,714 cases of the new coronavirus to date, including 281 people who have died. A total of 9,179 people are under active monitoring by public health professionals because of exposure to the virus.
Monday’s briefing follows the announcement this weekend of extending the new COVID-19 restrictions for the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions for a period of two weeks as cases arise in the province. The new orders focus on social gatherings, travel, internal group exercises and workplaces.
Henry said it was time to return to the strict security measures that people were following in the spring when the pandemic began, postponing social gatherings, canceling game dates, working from home whenever possible and interrupting non-essential trips.
“This last action in our COVID-19 response is about putting a brake on the virus,” she said.
The aim is to prevent the rapid spread of COVID-19 that has occurred in recent weeks, while allowing health systems and schools to function normally.
“If you’re unsure whether to travel or see someone, don’t do it,” said Henry on Monday.
Strict rules for Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health
Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health residents are being instructed not to have social interactions with anyone outside their immediate home. The province clarified on Sunday that the ban on meetings of people outside their home includes meetings outdoors and in restaurants.
These two health regions on the Lower Continent account for the vast majority of new cases announced on Monday, with 210 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 737 in the Fraser Health region.
Henry strongly recommended that travel to and from the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions be limited to essential travel only.
Companies and recreational centers that operate indoor group physical activities – such as spinning classes, yoga and gym classes – were instructed to suspend these activities.
However, Henry is also reiterating a message that she has shared several times since the beginning of BC’s COVID-19 outbreak – although the virus spreads easily inside the home, it is safe to stay outside. She encouraged people to take a walk, even with a friend, if you keep them at a safe distance.
BC Premier John Horgan on Monday he urged the population to increase their social interactions as COVID-19 cases explode in Lower Mainland, saying that if the numbers do not improve, the province may have to revert to the peak restrictions seen in March.