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

Gregory Ould, co-founder and executive director of Blanket BC, drops off warming blankets to Our Home on Eighth shelter in Port Alberni during a tour of Vancouver Island on Feb. 19, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Blanket BC delivers warmth, hope to Vancouver Island’s homeless

Gregory Ould donated blankets, toques in five communities

Construction takes place on Bamfield Main in early February 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY CTV NEWS)
Closures planned for Bamfield Road

Construction by Mosaic unrelated to $30M upgrade

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The Alberni Valley’s Emergency Operations Centre is located around the corner and below the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District office. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District tests new mobile alert system

Residents can still sign up for free Voyent Alert! emergency messaging

Crews respond to a structure fire in the 6000 block of Renton Road in Cherry Creek on Saturday, Feb. 27. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Workshop destroyed in Cherry Creek fire

Crews stayed on scene overnight fighting ‘stubborn’ blaze

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

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

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Most Read