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Six new confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Island Health region, 269 in B.C.

Six new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Island Health region since Friday, and B.C. hit its highest number of one-day COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, with 109 people testing positive.
Henry Dix Aug. 10, 2020
Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provide an update on COVID-19 on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020.

Six new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Island Health region since Friday, and B.C. hit its highest number of one-day COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, with 109 people testing positive.

The milestone was reached between Friday and Saturday, surpassing the 100 cases reported on Aug. 14.

Health Minister Adrian Dix asked British Columbians to recommit to actions that have been shown to be effective in dealing with COVID-19.

“That’s our mission,” he said. “Our mission is to stop the spread.”

People are being asked to stay at least two metres away from those outside your social bubble, to wear a mask if social distancing is not possible, to regularly wash hands with soap and water, to not gather in large groups, and to avoid indoor gatherings.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday that 269 cases were reported between Friday and Sunday, and one person died in a long-term care facility, for a total of 203 fatalities in B.C.

There are now 913 active cases in B.C. Another 2,594 people are being monitored because they are a close contact of an infected person.

To date, there have been 5,184 cases of COVID-19 in the province: 166 in Island Health, 2,739 in Fraser Health, 1,651 in Vancouver Coastal, 425 in Interior Health, and 127 in Northern Health.

Henry said the province has ramped up testing, with up to 5,000 tests being done every day.

However, she said, keeping the number of cases from increasing even more will require a collective effort to protect the elderly and those with a compromised immune system before flu season begins in the fall.

More fines against businesses and individuals in recent days is the right move if public health measures, such as limiting gatherings to 50 people and physical distancing rules, are not followed, she said.

“Showing support for each other, assuming the best and being an influencer for positive action is how we will get through this storm together,” Henry said. “And there are many more months of this to come.”

Owners of banquet halls have called on Henry to change the province’s 50-person limit on gatherings based on the size of a venue, but Henry said that won’t happen. “We know when there’s more people … the chances of somebody coming in with the virus and potentially spreading it go up dramatically,” she said pointing to parties that led to clusters of COVID-19 cases.

Large religious gatherings, some of them held in Alberta, have also led to more cases B.C., Henry said. “We need to hold the line that we’re holding and that includes any event, whether it’s in a banquet hall, whether it’s in a church or whether it’s in a restaurant or bar.”

Dix was adamant that rules won’t be relaxed: “The answer to the request is simply no, not because we don’t understand banquet halls or the services they provide but these are especially the kinds of events that we have to address right now.”

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth introduced fines last week of up to $2,000 for businesses that flout public health measures and $200 for individuals who disregard safety plans or refuse to leave a premise.

Police in Victoria and Richmond handed out fines over the weekend of $2,300 to businesses, which included a $300 surcharge.

“We need to stay strong,” Henry said. “And we need to continue to use our basic steps or layers to live safely while COVID-19 is a part of our lives. We have the knowledge, and we have the skills and we have the expertise to protect our most vulnerable.

“But let’s keep going, doing our best each day. Each and every day. And let’s also continue to remember to be kind, to be calm, to be safe.”

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

CINDY HARNETT

Times Colonist

and CAMILLE BAINS

The Canadian Press