FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. government)

‘Fewer faces, bigger spaces’: Dr. Henry urges caution as B.C. sees 16 new cases, one death

Warning comes ahead of May long weekend

B.C. has recorded 16 new cases and one additional death due to COVID-19, Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Wednesday (May 13).

The province has had a total of 2,376 confirmed cases, 385 of which are still active. A total of 132 people have died. The death reported Wednesday was of a senior in a Fraser Health longterm care facility.

There are currently 59 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 15 of whom are in ICU.

Henry reminded British Columbians about the rules going forward on gatherings, as the province gets ready to enter phase two of the pandemic response over the May long weekend.

“I know its been challenging to understand what it means going forward,” she said.

The keys, Henry noted, are: “fewer faces, bigger spaces” even as British Columbians expand their bubble up to six people.

Those new people, she noted, should remain constant.

“Don’t change it up every day, that’s not going to be helpful,” Henry said, noting that friends and family should agree to remain exclusive to their new small groups.

And while gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, proper physical distancing must still be maintained outside of people’s bubbles. It’s also a good idea to keep gatherings short and outdoors, Henry said, to limit the time during which the virus can be transmitted.

Ultimately, Henry said, it’s up to everyone to decide on their own if they will expand their bubbles and who to include, depending on the people in their own households.

Health Minister Adrian Dix asked people to consider if any Victoria Day travel plans were truly essential, “even if it’s your second home, even if it’s a place you go to every Victoria Day weekend.”

People who do leave their communities should “bring your own food, bring your own necessities there” to maintain physical distancing.

Henry said non-essential travel within B.C. could become an option in the coming weeks, after the long weekend. She said restaurants and salons will be given specific guidance to open as soon as May 19.

The provincial health officer also lauded the 75,000 British Columbians who had already taken a new B.C. Centre for Disease Control survey at www.bccdc.ca/covid19survey about COVID-19.

“The response has been outstanding.”

The survey includes the further option to sign up for serology testing, which will test for antibodies through a test Health Canada just approved.

The test’s approval was heartening, Henry said, to determine what kind of antibodies are left after both mild and severe cases of the virus, as well as what level of protection they can offer.

“I fully expect this is going to be really helpful for us.”

If you do not need to go somewhere, even if it’s a place you go to every Victoria Day weekend.

READ MORE: B.C. begins broad COVID-19 survey, with option for antibody testing

READ MORE: Trudeau not ready to talk about extending U.S. travel ban, even as deadline approaches

READ MORE: ‘Rapid, serial dating’ a no-go even as people expand their pandemic bubbles: Dr. Henry


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New electric buses are coming to school districts. (Submitted photo)
New electric school buses will drive North Island forward

Travel on electric school buses is smoother, quieter, and healthier than traditional diesel buses

Destroyed window at Ministry of Social Development offices in Campbell River. Photo supplied by Campbell River RCMP
Police investigating arson in downtown Campbell River

Fire set at BC Employment and Assistance Office

May 3-9 was Mental Health Week, and the Campbell River RCMP is encouraging people, especially men, to seek emotional help if it’s needed. Black Press file photo
Campbell River RCMP encouraging men to seek emotional help if needed

‘Taking care of our Mental Health is not simply about accessing counselling,’ says Const. Maury Tyre

Campbell River’s waste collection schedule will be changing after Victoria Day. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror.
Campbell River Garbage pickup schedule changing after May Long Weekend

Pickup day will change after every statutory holiday

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read