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

Read the full 2019-2020 annual report report online at www.seabirdisland.ca.
Seabird Island looks back in 2019-20 report

Highlights include COVID response, new development, upgrades

LEFT: Krista Macinnis, with a red handprint across her face that symbolizes the silencing of First Nations people, displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
RIGHT: Abbotsford School District Kevin Godden says the district takes responsibility for the harm the assignment caused.
Abbotsford school district must make amends for harmful residential school assignment: superintendent

‘The first step is to unreservedly apologize for the harm … caused to our community’: Kevin Godden

File photo
Outdoor recreation generates close to $1 billion annually in Fraser Valley: report

Camping, hiking and sportfishing generate the most spending, report finds

A new Sardis secondary school logo designed by a former student, Jason Roberts. (Facebook photo)
Chilliwack’s Sardis secondary unveils new logo done in Coast Salish style

The new-look Falcon is meant strengthen connections between Indigenous students and their school

Chief Robert Gladstone of Shxwha:y Village at a federal flood funding announcement April 24, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress file)
Consortium of Indigenous chiefs seeking a way to participate in cannabis economy

All Nations Chiefs from the Shxwha:y, Cheam, Soowahlie and Sq’ewlets holding online forum Dec. 2

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

(File photo)
Vancouver police warn of toxic drug supply after 7 people overdose at one party

Seven people between the ages of 25 to 42 were taken to hospital for further treatment.

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

Elissa McLaren broke her left elbow in the Sept. 20, 2020 collision. (Submitted)
Surviving victims of fatal crash in Fraser Valley asking for help leading up to Christmas

‘This accident has taken a larger toll financially, mentally and physically than originally intended’

Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld (left) and former BCTF president Glen Hansman (right).
BC Court of Appeal left to walk tightrope of freedom of expression in Neufeld-Hansman case

Is defamation lawsuit aimed at stifling free expression or does the defamation hinder free speech?

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Most Read