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COVID-19 numbers continue to soar as B.C. adds 525, Northern Health records seven

Three new deaths from the virus
B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (via Flickr/Province of B.C.)

B.C. continues to see a rapid spike in COVID-19 cases, with Dr. Bonnie Henry stressing that now is the time to step back. 

Health officials announced 525 newly-diagnosed cases in the past day, which brings the province's grand total to 19,239. 

Of those infections, Northern Health owns seven of them and now sits at 477 recorded cases since March.

There have been three new deaths in the last 24 hours related to the virus, which moves B.C.'s fatality rate to 284.

There are 5,133 people listed as active for the virus; 142 are in hospital and 46 of whom are in critical care. 

Active health monitoring has risen to 9,781 people who have recently come into contact with someone previously infected with the virus, while 13,704 have recovered.

The new cases by health region are as follows:

  • Vancouver Coastal Health - 159
  • Fraser Health - 325
  • Island Health - 7
  • Interior Health - 27
  • Northern Health - 7

The spike in new cases and hospitalizations prompted Henry to announce new targeted restrictions on Saturday (Nov. 7), some of which the public have found confusing still.

New orders on private gatherings in B.C. have gone from immediate family and a “safe six” to immediate family only and means that even wedding and funeral receptions are "not allowed right now."

She said suggested anyone planning to get married in the next few weeks should postpone their receptions. Henry also encouraged people to observe Remembrance Day from home this year and not attend public ceremonies. She also urged all British Columbians not to travel outside their own regions except for essential purposes.

Group fitness classes, like yoga and spin classes, have been ordered closed, though gyms and fitness centres are still allowed to operate. Henry said that the safety protocols that were in place for group fitness classes have proven inadequate.

"We thought we had adequate protocols in place," Henry said, adding: "This is not a reflection of those businesses. It is a reflection that we are continuing to learn about this virus."

Outdoor sports are still allowed, but travelling to other communities for games is not.

While the daily new cases are troubling enough, it’s the number of people being hospitalized that is the most worrisome. There has been a rapid rise of people sick enough to require hospitalization over the past two weeks.

Henry described some of the new restrictions she has ordered as "a short-term pause on non-essential activities and travel to ensure that our essential activities, like school and work and health care can safely continue."

She said that where good safety protocols are in place, including schools and restaurants, the transmission remains low. It's in situations where there are fewer or no controls in place that are the problem. 

There are a total of 12 schools in the Northern Health region that have been flagged for possible COVID-19 exposure:

  • Hudson's Hope Elementary-Junior Secondary - Oct. 26-Nov. 4, 2020
  • Ron Brent Elementary School - Oct. 30, 2020
  • Roosevelt Park Elementary School (SD52) - Oct. 21-22, 2020
  • Immaculate Conception School (Independent, Diocese of Prince George) - Oct. 21-23, 2020
  • Fort Nelson Secondary School (SD81) - Oct. 15-16, 2020
  • Notre Dame School (Private) - Oct. 13-14, 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

- with files from Kyle Balzer, PrinceGeorgeMatters, and Nelson Bennett, Business In Vancouver