Shiromali Krishnaraj arrives from India and receives a mandatory COVID-19 test at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. Ontario has started testing of arriving international pasengers in advance of a federal program to restrict entries to Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Shiromali Krishnaraj arrives from India and receives a mandatory COVID-19 test at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. Ontario has started testing of arriving international pasengers in advance of a federal program to restrict entries to Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

B.C. sees 1,158 more COVID-19 cases over weekend

Eight new cases of UK variant, all traced to travel

B.C.’s new cases of COVID-19 continued at a steady pace over the weekend, with 408 up to Saturday, 473 up to Sunday and 277 up to Monday, reflecting a lower number of test results completed on Sundays.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported the new cases Feb. 1, noting that eight of the new positive tests over the weekend were of the United Kingdom variant of coronavirus, which is being closely tracked as it has shown signs of being more contagious. Seven of the cases were people who had travelled to the U.K, and the other was a close contact of one of the travellers, Henry said.

There were four cases of the South African variant detected, one in the Fraser Health region and three in Vancouver Coastal, and they have not been traced to international travel. Henry said there have been no positive tests in schools for the “variants of concern” that are being tracked, and further testing is being done at a Maple Ridge school where someone was a close contact of a person with one of the new variants.

The new weekend cases have followed the pattern of recent months, with 493 in the Fraser Health region, 295 in Vancouver Coastal, 194 in Interior Health, 98 in Northern Health and 78 on Vancouver Island over three days. There were 21 additional deaths related to COVID-19 since Friday.

Dix and Henry noted that the current public health orders expire this Friday, when an update with new pandemic analysis will be presented. Henry said with Super Bowl weekend approaching, it’s important to follow restrictions on seating and mingling in restaurants and pubs.

“If the restrictions are followed the way that we have them, those environments are safe,” Henry said, noting that B.C. is the only province in Canada that has kept those businesses going.

Dix emphasized that Super Bowl parties in homes are “not on this year,” as with any gatherings in homes outside of household groups that are currently illegal and subject to fines. He said the spread of infection in Whistler has been shown to be in places that have good public health plans, but staff lose control over patrons later in the evening.

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