B.C. public health officials have identified another 217 COVID-19 cases, following a record weekend for infections that prompted new restrictions on gatherings in private homes and advice to wear masks in all public indoor spaces.
“Public indoor spaces are quite different from our schools, offices and businesses that have established learning groups and work cohorts, supported by comprehensive COVID-19 plans,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a statement Oct 27.
The latest figures continue the recent surge in the Fraser Health region, which accounts for 145 of the new cases. Another 48 were recorded in the Vancouver Coastal region, with 24 in Interior Health and no new cases in Vancouver Island and Northern Health.
The latest positive tests bring the number of active coronavirus cases in B.C. to 2,322, with another 5,101 people under active public health monitoring due to exposure to identified infections. There have been no new deaths, and two additional health facility outbreaks have been identified.
After a steep increase in positive tests over the weekend, with more than 800 cases reported over three days, Henry announced a new order restricting parties and social gatherings in private homes to household members and their “safe six” friends or relatives, identifying weddings, funerals and other private gatherings as key infection sites, particularly in the Fraser Health region.
Henry stopped short of an order for non-medical masks to be worn in all public spaces, calling it an “expectation” that they will be worn in such places as retail stores, malls, offices and on public transit.
The latest health care outbreaks are at Fellburn Care Centre and St. Michael’s Centre extended care, both in Burnaby. A total of 21 long-term care or assisted living facilities and two acute-care facilities have active outbreak protocols in effect.
B.C.’s state of emergency has been extended for another two weeks due to the pandemic, which prompted emergency orders starting March 18. The 34-week health emergency is the longest on record, after the 2017 B.C. forest fire season resulted in a 10-week state of emergency.