Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry at a COVID-19 press conference in September 2020. (B.C. government)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry at a COVID-19 press conference in September 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C shatters single-day COVID-19 record with 274 new cases; most linked to gatherings

No deaths reported in past 24 hours

B.C. reported 274 new COVID-19 cases Thursday (Oct. 22), shattering the single-day record set just Wednesday.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there have been no new deaths in the past 24 hours. One of the new cases is epi-linked, Henry said.

There have now been a total of 12,331 cases since the pandemic began, of which 1,920 are currently active. There are 71 people in hospital, 24 of whom are in ICU. Nearly 4,500 people are currently under public health monitoring.

Henry said there have been 10,398 tests completed in the past 24 hours and the positivity rate is at 2.6 per cent. There are 19 outbreaks in health-care settings, with 17 in long-term care and two in acute care centres.

The provincial health officer said that while a recent school outbreak, B.C.’s first, could cause people to worry, it’s the social gatherings that have led to the majority of these new cases. Henry said 203 of the new cases are tied to Fraser Health, particularly to gatherings like weddings, funerals and other life events. While Thanksgiving weekend did contribute to some new cases in recent days, Henry said it was not the main driver of new infections.

“We’re not seeing return to school lead to amplification in our communities,” she said.

Henry stopped short of bringing in new public health orders related to gatherings but warned that options were on the table for further restrictions. B.C. has had a limit of 50 people, spaced out, at any gathering since the spring and Henry has resisted calls to change it.. However, she said that people planning events in the coming days and weeks should consider hosting smaller gatherings instead, and not take advantage of the 50 person limit.

“Weddings, funerals and other life events need to be small, as small as possible,” Henry said, noting the gatherings should be limited to one household only, and at max a pandemic bubble of six or fewer.

“The risk is too high for all of us.”

She said that cases from social gatherings were “spilling over” and infecting people not connected to the event.

“Social gatherings, especially recently weddings and other celebrations, are proving to be high risk for all of us,” Henry said.

“These events have caused clusters and outbreaks that have now spilled over to our health-care system.”

Hosts of events like weddings and funerals, she added, are not sticking to COVID-19 safety plans, or having guests who break the rules.

“We may have the best intentions… but it is hard, and now it is not working for many reasons,” Henry said.

“As much as I am hesitant to do so.. if there is a major source of transmission, additional measures can and will be put in place if they’re needed.”

Potential measures could include conditions tied to wedding licences and smaller limits on indoor gatherings.

While most event-linked cases stem from the Lower Mainland, Henry said that some of those people travel back to their home communities, bringing the virus with them.

The provincial health officer also said that some new cases are tied to workplaces, noting that WorkSafe BC would be conducting inspections at a higher rate. She said that recent concerns include employees car pooling together and gathering in break rooms, although some workplace set ups are also a concern.

READ MORE: Majority of new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours linked to Fraser Health region


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rori Denness throws a javelin during BC Summer Games in 2016. (Black Press Media file photo)
Port Alberni ponders bidding for 2026 B.C. Summer Games

Port Alberni last hosted the BC Winter Games in 2004

Victoria artisan Tina Neurauter, right, used to shop at Pot Luck Ceramics with her daughter from Port Alberni. Now Neurauter is selling her handmade soaps and bath products at Bibi J’s, a new enterprise in the former Pot Luck Ceramics building on Gertrude Street in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Former Pot Luck Ceramics location reimagined as Bibi J’s

Owner Helma Swinkels revives social enterprise with new name, vision

The Rollin Art Centre’s Mistletoe Market begins on Dec. 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
ARTS AROUND: Rollin Art Centre prepares for Mistletoe Market

Artisans and crafters are still needed for annual Christmas craft fair

‘Homelessness’ means many things to people with no permanent place to sleep. For some, the challenge to find safe shelter is greater than for others. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni mother battles to find housing for her son

Mary Elles fears her son will die on the street before he will find safe housing

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

FILE - This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Pfizer announced Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, more results in its ongoing coronavirus vaccine study that suggest the shots are 95% effective a month after the first dose. (Courtesy of University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)
VIDEO: B.C. planning for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the first weeks of 2021

The question of who will get the vaccine first relies on Canada’s ethical framework

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Canada can make vaccines, just not the ones leading the COVID-19 race

Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines

British Columbia Premier John Horgan speaks during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. Horgan is set to introduce his NDP government’s new cabinet Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP cabinet built to tackle pandemic, economic recovery, says former premier

Seven former NDP cabinet ministers didn’t seek re-election, creating vacancies in several high-profile portfolios

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (Tracy Holmes photo)
B.C. woman calls for consistency in COVID-19 post-test messaging

‘Could we just get one thing straight?’ asks Surrey’s Deb Antifaev

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Most Read