Record COVID-19 case numbers in health regions across B.C. are due in part to people travelling from the Lower Mainland to other parts of the province, the provincial health officer on Tuesday.
Dr. Bonnie Henry reported a terrible day — a record 11 deaths and a record 717 new cases between noon Monday and noon Tuesday, with the number of active cases and hospitalizations growing.
While Fraser Health accounted for 67 per cent of those cases, there were 21 cases reported in Northern Health, 18 in Interior Health and 16 in Island Health. Less than 10 per cent of B.C.’s total cases are from outside the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions, which account for almost 95 per cent of active cases.
Henry said those new cases were “connected to travel to and from the Lower Mainland.”
On Nov. 7, a two-week provincial health order was issued to bar families from having guests in their homes and cancel high-exertion exercise classes like spin and yoga.
Henry also made a recommendation that people in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley not travel unless it is essential. This was not part of the order.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health confirmed “there is no order restricting travel.”
The ministry said however that travel for social or recreational reasons should be restricted.
“We are asking that people only travel in and out of the communities in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions if it is absolutely necessary. Essential travel includes regular travel for work, or for things like medical appointments. Travel for social or recreational reasons should be restricted,” according to a ministry statement.
There has been one new health-care facility outbreak — at Tsawaayuss-Rainbow Gardens in Port Alberni.
“When we spend time inside with people from outside of our household, our work group or school cohort, the risks increase for everyone. Instead, let’s stay connected virtually and make it a safer winter for all of us,” Henry said.
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