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Public gatherings restrictions extended to Jan. 8th as COVID-19 claims 35 more lives

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed another 35 lives in B.C. since Friday.

During today’s briefing, the province announced 2,020 positive cases including 45 on Vancouver Island.

As a result, the province’s recent order limiting public gatherings to 50 people, and banning events, has been extended past Christmas and New Years Eve, to midnight on January 8th.

“This means all those events that we have been talking about for the past few weeks, continue to be prohibited with the exceptions as they are listed in the order,” said provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Dr. Henry said the other parts of the gatherings and events order remain in effect, including restrictions on adult team sports, indoor and outdoor, and group fitness restrictions.

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As well, more schools on and around Vancouver Island are seeing exposures.

In the south, there has been a positive case in one school in Victoria, and one on Salt Spring Island.

Nanaimo has new exposures in three schools, and five schools in Port Alberni are on the list, along with Carihi Secondary in Campbell River.

Meanwhile, Westjet flights to and from the Comox Valley Airport have confirmed COVID-19 cases.

They include:

  • the Dec. 1st WestJet flight 3171 from Calgary to Comox, affecting rows 16-19, and 
  • the Nov. 29th WestJet Encore flight 3210 from Comox to Calgary, affecting rows 7-13.

Across the province, 349 people are hospitalized with the virus, 77 of whom are in ICU. 

New cases by region:

  • Vancouver Coastal Health – 304
  • Fraser Health – 1,362
  • Vancouver Island – 45
  • Interior Health – 203
  • Northern Health – 106

Dr. Henry did share some good news, with the first batch of  Pfizer’s COVID-19 set to arrive in the province next week.

She said protecting our elders and seniors, particularly in care homes, and the health care workers who care for them, is an important step forward in our COVID-19 struggle.

“Our first priority is to make sure we are protecting those who are most at risk,” she said.

“We know that is our seniors and elders in our communities and long-term care homes and in hospitals, here in BC. Once we have more vaccine available, we will be making it available to all of us in B.C. And that’s when we can get to that point of managing and controlling this pandemic.”

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