Nine people have died in B.C. since Friday from COVID-19, new cases have soared by more than 600 per day, and there have been 11 new outbreaks at acute care and long-term care facilities.
“As the number of cases and outbreaks is showing, we are in the most challenging of times,” public health officer Bonnie Henry said Monday. “We have come through a wave – we’re now in the midst of our second."
She implored British Columbians to stop all unnecessary social gatherings and avoid unnecessary travel.
“We need to say no to social gatherings right now," She said.
There have been 1,959 new cases confirmed since Friday, and there are currently 181 people in hospital and 57 in intensive care.
There have been two new community outbreaks – one at the Platinum Athletic Club in Surrey and one at a public school – the Cambridge Elementary School in the Fraser Valley Health region.
Henry confirmed that there is a high rate of transmission in the South Asian community in the Fraser Valley.
While that may be attributable in part to large family and social gatherings, it may also be related to the fact that so many essential workers – from health care to food processing – are South Asian.
"Yes, we have seen transmission in that community related to events, but we also recognize that many of the people in the South Asian community are essential workers," she said.
Henry once again addressed the question of wearing masks. She was asked why people are not required to wear masks when outdoors in public – on hiking trails, for example.
"The things that we have learned about this virus are that it doesn't transmit very easily outdoors," she said. "So if I'm walking by somebody, even on a trail, if I'm running past somebody, if I'm walking down a crowded street and we're just passing by each other, those are not risky situations.
"So no – there's not a reason necessarily to wear a mask outdoors."
Asked about vaccines, Henry said there has been some encouraging news recently about vaccines becoming available soon, but said the details on who will be eligible to get the vaccines first are still being worked out.
"It will give us an opportunity to start by protecting those who are most at risk, protecting people in our healthcare system, and then I am confident, by this time next year, we'll have vaccines available for anybody in British Columbia.
Here are the daily numbers for Monday, November 16, with numbers from Friday, November 13, the last reporting period, in brackets:
- New cases: 1,959 (617)
- BC Total: 22,944 (20,985)
- Active cases: 6,279 (5,579)
- Recovered: 1,087 (14,901)
- Hospitalized: 181 (167)
- Intensive care: 57 (50)
- Deaths: 299 (290)
Confirmed cases by region:
- Vancouver Coastal Health:455
- Fraser Health: 1,361
- Island Health: 41
- Interior Health: 87
- Northern Health: 14