B.C. had 567 new COVID-19 cases, one death, in past 24 hours

567 new cases, one death

UPDATE: 1:45 p.m.

Another 567 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in British Columbia in the past 24 hours, 22 of which came from the Interior Health region. 

The new cases bring the total positive tests in the province to 17,176, but Dr. Henry did not disclose the number of active cases Saturday. She did say another person has died from the virus, bringing the total deaths to 276.

With cases continuing to rise dramatically, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a series of new restrictive public health orders for the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions for the next two weeks. The new orders do not apply to those living in the rest of the province.

The orders include barring all social gatherings with those outside of an individuals' household group. She said the province has the ability to enforce the social gathering ban in the Lower Mainland through bylaw and police officers, but she said hopes this won't be necessary. 

Dr. Henry is also urging people to stop travelling in and out of the two health authorities, unless travel is considered essential. Travel outside of anyone's health authorities is also discouraged.

Weddings and funerals in the Lower Mainland can still proceed, but only with members of each other's household. 

Additionally, indoor physical activities like yoga, spin classes and fitness classes will be suspended in the Lower Mainland for the next two weeks, while other indoor sports will be temporarily suspended.

The new regional orders will go into effect Saturday at 10 p.m, and remain in place until Nov. 23. Dr. Henry said the next two weeks will be critical in B.C.'s fight against the virus. 

Province-wide, party buses and limo services will be banned indefinitely. 

Dr. Henry said the rising case counts across the other parts of the province, including the Interior, are still manageable without these restrictive measures in place. 

She also noted that businesses should consider having employees work from home again if possible, and all businesses should revisit and ensure strict adherence to their COVID-19 safety plans. Enforcement of businesses' safety plans will be increased in coming weeks, and businesses may be shut down if adherence is not followed. 

Dr. Henry also said certain restaurants may be ordered to move back to take-out only if in-restaurant dining is proving too risky.

While Alberta announced recently it would stop contact tracing, Dr. Henry said contact tracing is still occurring in B.C., despite sky-rocketing numbers. 

ORIGINAL: 8:30 a.m.

British Columbia's provincial health officer and health minister are holding a rare weekend news conference today amid a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix will speak at 1 p.m. although there is no word yet on what will be announced.

In a news conference earlier this week, Henry had said they were talking with health authorities about possibly bringing in region specific restrictions, if necessary.

B.C. reported 589 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, up from 425 on Thursday and 334 on Wednesday.

The province also reported two new deaths on Friday, bringing the total to 275.

Less than two weeks ago, Henry brought in new restrictions limiting the number of people in homes to the occupants plus their "safe six" when cases began spiking in the Fraser Health region.

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