If B.C. managed the pandemic like other provinces, the Fraser Valley would have strictest restrictions | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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If B.C. managed the pandemic like other provinces, the Fraser Valley would have strictest restrictions

October 31, 2020 - 8:00 PM

If B.C. handled its second wave of COVID-19 like Quebec, the Fraser Valley might be seeing different restrictions than the rest of the province.

The vast majority of cases responsible for B.C.’s fast-rising transmission of the virus are in the Fraser Health Region in the Lower Mainland, while most other areas like the Thompson-Okanagan and Vancouver Island haven't seen nearly the same increases. In Quebec, Montreal is the hotbed but health officials there have responded much differently.

While B.C. Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry last week imposed new rules restricting contacts to only six people outside the family and is pushing masks in public places, Quebec has imposed rules specifically for its hotbed in Montreal.

READ MORE: B.C. isn't in a second-wave of COVID-19 — the Fraser Health region is

Much of the area around Montreal has been declared a red zone so bars are closed and restaurants can only offer drive-thru, take-out and deliveries. 

The same goes for the Toronto, Ottawa, Peel and York regions of Ontario where gyms and fitness centres are also closed.

Bars and restaurants are still allowed to be open in Edmonton and Calgary but social gatherings, such as weddings, funerals and banquets, are limited to 15 people, compared to the 50 in B.C.

Dr. Henry has said on a number of occasions that she’s not going to impose different rules for different regions of the province, saying the virus can be transmitted just as easily in Prince George as Vancouver.

She reiterated that point again at her briefing yesterday, Oct. 29, when she explained that cases in Kelowna were being triggered by people travelling back and forth.

“That’s why the orders that we’re putting in place are the same across the province because we know people go to celebrations of life or weddings or birthings with family members in other areas of the province and they bring that back with them,” she said.

There have already been large outbreaks outside the Lower Mainland in the Peace River in August and Kelowna in July. The province’s only outbreak in a school has now risen to 16 cases at  École de L’Anse-au-sable in Kelowna. Smaller examples of transmission have popped up around the province. 

READ MORE: Alberta prayer gathering caused COVID-19 spike in Northern B.C.

READ MORE: Kelowna school now closed due to COVID-19

Dr. Henry also pointed out that most of the new cases are coming from family gatherings and house parties. That’s why she’s limited guests to six per household.

READ MORE: New health order limits household gatherings after 817 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday

As much as this might sound appealing in Kamloops and the Okanagan, Henry's decision is also responsible for B.C. outperforming nearly every other province with similar populations on infection rate and mortality.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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