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Five people die among nearly 1K new COVID-19 cases in B.C. from weekend, 11 out of Northern Health

More than 130 people are in hospital being treated for the virus
Dr. Bonnie Henry - Nov. 7, 2020
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C. Provincial Health Officer. (via Flickr/Province of B.C.)

Even in just a two-day case-count, COVID-19 is still on the rise in the province.

Today (Nov. 9), Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reiterating her recent region-specific health orders after B.C. recorded 998 new positive tests since Saturday's (Nov. 7) update for a new grand total of 18,714 since January.

This included 11 new infections in Northern Health, inching the authority closer to 500 in total since March at 470.

Sadly, five people died in B.C. in the last two days in succumbing to the virus, rising the toll to 281.

The latest reporting period is as follows:

  • 536 = Saturday to Sunday
  • 462 = Sunday to Monday

There are now 4,891 active cases in the province and 133 people are in hospital, 43 of whom are admitted into critical care.

Active health monitoring has risen to 9,179 people who have recently come into contact with someone previously infected with the virus, while 13,425 have recovered.

The spike in new cases and hospitalizations has prompted Henry to announce new targeted restrictions, some of which the public has found confusing.

In one week, new restrictions on private gatherings in B.C. have gone from immediate family and a “safe six” to immediate family only.

That 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. 

"Most businesses can and should continue to stay open," she said.

She also urged those who can work from home to consider doing so again, for the next couple of weeks.

Earlier today, Northern Health added a 12th school to its list of potential exposures; Hudson's Hope Elementary-Junior Secondary between Oct. 26 and Nov. 4.

There are 11 other schools listed for potential COVID-19 exposure since the virus reached Northern Health:

  • 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

Should a student or teacher receive a positive COVID-19 test in any case, Northern Health's school notification process is as follows:

  • Contact tracing is initiated to determine how the individual was infected and who they were in close contact with
  • We identify and notify close contacts who may be at an increased risk, and advise them to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days
  • Only Public Health can determine who is a close contact
    • Learning groups, friends or other connections may not be determined to be a close contact
  • Public Health staff works closely with the school and school district throughout the case and contact management process to maintain close communication with the school community.

- with files from Nelson Bennett, Business In Vancouver