Dr. Bonnie Henry warns residents to 'hold the line' during New Year’s eve | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Dr. Bonnie Henry warns residents to 'hold the line' during New Year’s eve

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry
Image Credit: Flickr/Province of B.C.
December 31, 2020 - 3:34 PM

B.C.’s top doctor is urging British Columbians to “hold the line” in order to make 2021 a brighter year for everyone.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provided the new COVID-19 numbers in B.C. today, Dec. 31, during the last live-streamed news conference of this year.

In the province, 683 new cases were reported since yesterday, Dec. 30, bringing the total number of people who have been infected with the virus to 51,983 since the start of the pandemic. Dr. Henry also reported eight more deaths from the disease since yesterday, bringing the total number of deaths in the province to 901 in 2020.

The new cases include 105 people in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 447 people in the Fraser Health region, 11 people in the Vancouver Island Health region, 64 in the Interior Health region and 36 people in the Northern Health region. There are 7,803 active cases in B.C., Dr. Henry said.

There has been some over-reporting in the Northern Health Authority due to a data system change and that will be reconciled over the next few days on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control dashboard, she said.

Of those active cases, 374 people are in hospital with 76 people in critical care, Dr. Henry said. She said 9,364 are under active health monitoring and 42,129 people have recovered from the virus.

There are three new healthcare outbreaks and two have been declared over, leaving 52 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living homes and nine in acute care.

This morning, Interior Health declared an outbreak at Williams Lake Seniors Village as one resident tested positive for the disease.

An outbreak is declared when a certain number of people who share a common space are diagnosed with COVID-19 within a 14-day period.

In some places, it only takes a single person getting COVID-19 for an outbreak to be declared. This is true for places where people are more likely to get very sick or there are people at high risk of passing it on to people who might get very sick, such as in long-term care facilities.

Usually, a Medical Health Officer will declare an outbreak so that specific actions can be taken to prevent the further spread of the disease.

In total, 17,510 people have been immunized against COVID-19 with doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Dr. Henry said.

The first immunizations have also occurred in at-risk First Nations communities, she said.

“As has been the case since the start of the pandemic, the fewer faces and fewer spaces we are in, the better… right now we have been trending in the right direction for the last few weeks, although the increase today reminds us that we are still in a very precarious situation and we can only look around us… where we see this virus continues to wreak havoc,” she said.

"As the new year brings a fresh start for all of us, we must start 2021 in the right space on the right foot and the only way we can get there is for all of us to continue to stay small and stay local partially for our New Year’s eve celebrations tonight.”

Yesterday, Dr. Henry amended an order for all liquor establishments to stop serving or selling alcohol by 8 p.m. tonight.

Alcohol limits our inhibitions, and what begins as a quiet dinner can soon become out of control, she said.

READ MORE: B.C. restricting alcohol sales, service on New Year's Eve to limit 'risky behaviour'

Dr. Henry said she has heard about holiday celebrations being planned, some for several hundred people and from those working in restaurants and bars who are worried about managing those situations, she said.

“I recognize that these restrictions are yet another challenge for restaurants and food services… but two hours now is necessary to manage a situation that will be lasting for many more weeks,” she said. “We can all still celebrate in a smaller way.”

She said one of her own team members have cancelled a reservation at their favourite restaurant and will be spending the night at home.

She asked residents to “hold the line” tonight and support local food services in other ways, such as dining in.

Dr. Henry will be ordering her New Years’ eve meal and eating it at home tonight, she said.

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