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COVID-19 cases still running high in southwestern B.C.

B.C. public health officials recorded another 536 COVID-19 cases up to Sunday and 462 cases up to Monday, Nov. 9, as new restrictions on residents and businesses were taking effect in the Lower Mainland.

The total of 998 new cases since Saturday continued the trend of being concentrated in the urban southwest, with 737 in the Fraser Health region and 210 in Vancouver Coastal.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry emphasized the new restrictions for those two regions are temporary.

“It is a short-term pause on non-essential activities and travel,” Henry said.

The new restrictions on the Metro Vancouver region were announced Nov. 7, after the B.C. Centre for Disease Control announced 567 COVID-19 cases in 24 hours. Daily reports climbed from 335 to 425 to 589 new infections in the days before that, with most of the new cases in Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions, the centre of B.C.’s urban population.

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The new restrictions are in place for an initial two weeks, restrictions for those regions do not allow the “safe six” group of friends to visit private homes, except for people who live alone and have one or two people they regularly spend time with, equivalent to household members. Group indoor fitness such as dance, yoga and spin classes are also suspended until Nov. 23, a date that could be extended depending on the COVID-19 transmission evidence.

Health Minister Adrian Dix explained Sunday the intent of the restrictions on individuals in Metro Vancouver.

“Under this new order, there are to be no social gatherings of any size with anyone other than your immediate household,” Dix said. “That includes outdoors or in restaurants.”

Public health officials are closely watching the pressure on the health care system, where 133 people are now in hospital with coronavirus-related conditions, 43 of them in intensive care.

Henry reported new outbreaks in two long-term care facilities and one more declared over, for a total of 37 active outbreaks in the health care system, 32 of them in long-term care or assisted living facilities.


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tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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