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

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is offering home compost bins at reduced prices until March 25. (Contributed)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen offers compost bins at wholesale costs

Pricing offer at participating stores in place until March 25

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Mussel inspection sit set up at B.C.-Alberta border. (Contributed)
Okanagan Basin Water Board calls for stronger invasive mussel protection

Letter sets out six recommendations for environment minister George Heyman to consider

About 50 people gathered Friday, March 5, 2021 in Penticton to protest city council’s decision to close a temporary winter shelter. (Jesse Day - Western News)
WATCH: Protest over Penticton shelter draws large crowd

People are gathering in Gyro Park to protest the closure of a winter shelter

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

Paramjit Bogarh, connected to the murder of his wife in Vernon 35 years ago, has been relerased on full parole, one year after he was sentenced to five years in prison for accessory after the fact. (Contributed)
Full parole for ex-Okanagan man who helped wife’s alleged killer escape

Paramjit Bogarh pleaded guilty to accessory to murder after helping brother flee Canada

The Princeton Traditional Music Festival, normally held in August, was denied a grant due to COVID. (File photo)
COVID makes some of the 2021 grant decisions for Princeton council

Municipality doles out funds while striving to meet policy

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Most Read