PHO COVID-19 orders expanded to cover all B.C.
B.C.’s COVID-19 response and latest updates for Nov. 18
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, today (Nov. 18) issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia.
Today, we are reporting 538 new cases of COVID-19, including nine epi-linked cases, for a total of 24,960 cases in British Columbia.
There are 6,929 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Currently, 217 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 59 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
There are 9,977 people under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and 17,207 people who tested positive have recovered.
We have had 178 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 309 in the Fraser Health region, 12 in the Island Health region, 28 in the Interior Health region, 11 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
There has been one new COVID-19 related death, for a total of 321 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We have four new health-care facility outbreaks at Cottage-Worthington Pavilion, Langley Memorial Hospital, The Residence at Clayton Heights and Windermere Care Centre.
There has been one new community outbreak at JGC Fluor BC LNG Joint Venture, a contracted site of the LNG Canada plant and project in Kitimat.
The change in season is affecting the ways and places we interact with others and this, in turn, is affecting how COVID-19 is spreading in our communities.
This virus never rests and the trends that started in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions are now evident throughout the province.
While we may feel frustrated or disheartened, we must remember that we flattened our curve before and we can again.
Our individual actions do make a difference and our public health teams are here to support us in our efforts.
On Nov. 7, we issued regional orders to slow the rapid transmission we are seeing in social interactions, in certain workplaces and in higher-risk indoor settings, like group fitness activities.
We are now expanding and amending these provincial health officer orders across the province. As was the case for the previous regional orders, the new province-wide orders focus on three areas: social gatherings, workplaces and group physical activities. Each is outlined below.
Our focus is to slow the spread over the next one to two incubation periods and protect those who are most at risk.
The coming weeks will be the most difficult in our pandemic, but hope is on the horizon. We can protect the ones we love and keep our hospitals, schools and workplaces open if we remain focused on reducing our in-person interactions for now.
To support the continued safe operation of schools, the provincial health officer has created a rapid response team that will identify and manage exposures and outbreaks in Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health region schools, and enhance communication with school communities.
To support comprehensive workplace COVID-19 safety plans, active inspections will be increased across the province. Businesses that do not comply will be subject to fines and/or ordered to close. Environmental health officers will focus on workplaces in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions to ensure full compliance and enable rapid response and action.
As we approach the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, we should remind each other that it is also the day that we begin to turn back toward the light. By pulling together now we can overcome the challenges before us.
All indoor or outdoor events as defined in our Gathering and Events order are prohibited. This includes religious, cultural or community events, with the exception of baptisms, funerals and weddings. These may proceed with up to 10 people including an officiant if a COVID-19 safety plan is in place. There are to be no associated receptions of any kind in any venue.
There are to be no social gatherings at residences with anyone other than those who reside there. People who live alone must host no gatherings, but can continue to see one or two of the same members of their core pandemic bubble at home.
Group physical activities
Businesses, recreation centres or other venues that organize or operate indoor group spin classes, hot yoga and high-intensity interval training will stop for the fall and winter.
Guidance on other physical activities done with a group indoors will need to follow updated guidance that is being developed.
Sports activities can continue, but there is to be no travel outside of communities for games or competitions, and no spectators are allowed. League organizers should continue planning for 2021 with today’s modifications in mind.
All businesses and worksites must conduct active daily screening of all on-site workers using their COVID-19 safety plans.
Workers and customers must wear masks in indoor public and retail spaces (except when eating or drinking), and in workplace common areas, including elevators, hallways, group or break rooms, kitchens and customer counters.
Office-based employers should temporarily suspend their efforts to safely get employees back to their workplace and support work-from-home options wherever possible.
All non-essential travel outside of one’s community is strongly discouraged. People travelling to stay with immediate family members should ensure they do not host or participate in any social gatherings.
Lead image: A sign on a Kimberley business door noting COVID-19 regulations. Carrie Schafer/e-KNOW photo