Ban on Social Gatherings Extended Again as COVID Cases Rise

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry

Interior Health says the weekly case numbers in Revelstoke are now higher than many other areas of B.C. on a per capita basis.

"Now is our time to stay the course", says Dr. Bonnie Henry, noting it is not the time to ease restrictions as the province's COVID-19 curve is trending upwards.

The province's vaccine rollout program continues to operate in all health authorities with over 46,000 people having received the first of two doses of vaccine.

Eight people are now in hospital with COVID-19 on Vancouver Island and two people are in critical care, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.

A group of caregivers and loved ones of people living in long-term care have said these guidelines are being applied unfairly and inconsistently by care homes, and want each resident to be guaranteed one essential visitor.

Another 8,755 people are under public health monitoring due to close contact with a known COVID-19 case.

The latest case count brings B.C.'s total since the start of the pandemic to 56,015.

The restrictions on gatherings were first introduced in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions on November 7 for a two-week period.

The province is also toughening COVID-19 fine-collection measures, and calling on enforcement officers to support police, and increase enforcement by issuing violation tickets in public places.

The new, faster system is possible because the B.C. Centre for Disease Control is now receiving positive test results directly from labs, instead of having to wait for reports from local health authorities.

They strongly recommended everyone limit their travel between communities and out of the province unless necessary a day after Henry extended restrictions on all gatherings and events until February 5.

"We continue to strengthen the tools officials need to keep people safe, and we won't hesitate to use them".

Brighter days are without a doubt ahead, when thousands more will be immunized from COVID-19 and the spread of the virus has slowed.

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