It was another unsettling announcement from B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry this afternoon (Oct. 22).
At a live daily briefing, she announced there have been 274 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, which shatters its previous 203-case record set yesterday (Oct. 21) and now brings the province's total to 12,331.
Northern Health contributed four of those new positive tests for a new authority total of 365 since the pandemic began, 13 of which are active, one person is in critical care, three have died and 349 have recovered.
Across the province, there are 1,920 active cases, 71 are patients in hospital with 24 in critical care, 4,425 currently being monitored by public health due to exposure and 10,114 have fully recovered.
Henry reported no new deaths, which keeps the toll at 256 since COVID-19 reached B.C. in January.
On Wednesday, Henry said most of the new cases and recent community clusters are a result of weddings, funerals and celebrations of life.
Today, Henry took a noticeably more stern stance, warning that she and health officials will not be afraid to put restrictions or orders on inside events, wedding venues and other similar places.
She also explained that there will be more enforcement in places where there can be large gatherings.
Henry says that she and officials will not be afraid to put restrictions in place at inside gatherings, wedding venues and any other restrictions required to discourage large social gatherings with more than 50 #bcpoli #cityofpg #covid19 #bced @PGMatters— Jess Balzer (@jessicajbalzer) October 22, 2020
“With COVID-19 still in our communities, we have seen that even small gatherings are risky right now. Inside or outside, large space or small, the fewer the faces the better," she said.
“A wedding is meant to be a time of celebration, yet weddings and other important life occasions are a significant source of community transmission; transmission that has spread to health-care facilities, workplaces and schools.
"Now is the time to keep these celebrations small and to plan for bigger family gatherings at a time when we are no longer putting our seniors, elders and others at risk.”
Northern Health's first and only public COVID-19 exposure was potentially contracted by a passenger(s) that used Prince George Taxi between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Oct. 2 to 3. The alert remains in effect.
Seven northern B.C. schools have also been potentially exposed to COVID-19:
- Notre Dame Private School - Dawson Creek - Oct. 13-20, 2020
- Prince George Secondary School (SD57) - Oct. 2, 2020
- Dawson Creek Secondary School - South Peace Campus (SD59) - Sept. 23-25, 2020
- David Hoy Elementary School (SD91) - Sept. 17-18, 2020
- Quesnel Junior Secondary School (SD28) - Sept. 10-11, 15-18, 2020
- Nak’albun Elementary School (Independent) - Sept. 16-18, 2020
- Ecole Frank Ross Elementary School (SD59) - Sept. 10-11, 2020
Henry also notes that many people believe they won't get or spread COVID-19 because they are away from large geographical areas. She stresses that that is not true and people need to start following any orders, restrictions and guidelines #bcpoli #cityofpg #covid19 @PGMatters— Jess Balzer (@jessicajbalzer) October 22, 2020