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

Kimberley case counts not at the point for 18 years and older community vaccination, says Interior Health. (File photo)
Many factors considered for smaller community-wide vaccination: Interior Health

East Kootenay resort town’s COVID-19 situation not at the point of community-wide vaccination, say officials

The BC Wildfire Service is urging caution amid forecasts of strong winds throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre. (BC Wildfire Service photo)
Strong winds forecasted for Kamloops Fire Centre, BC Wildfire service urges caution

“Wind can cause grass fires to spread very quickly,” says the BC Wildfire Service

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

Hesco baskets were first used outside the Cache Creek fire hall in 2020 (pictured), and have once again been put in place as a pre-emptive measure to safeguard the hall against possible flooding. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Cache Creek taking pre-emptive measures to prevent flooding

Sand and sandbags will soon be available for all residents who need them

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Most Read