BC health officials warn of increased enforcement around COVID-19 protocols

Aug 17 2020, 4:54 pm

After BC Health Minister Adrian Dix warned last week of potential consequences for those planning – or choosing to attend – a party, the minister doubled down on his warning, stating that “the government will take further steps to impose stricter penalties” to those who flout COVID-19 protocols and regulations around social gatherings.

“One of the major concerns we continue to have is private parties and private gatherings, and the most dangerous of which are of course indoor private parties and indoor private gatherings,” Dix said during a press conference on Monday. “We are continuing to review what can be done about those and continue to engage with people and discourage people to hold such gatherings.”

As part of this process, Dix said “the ministries are meeting and have met today to map out a more comprehensive approach to increase enforcement that will optimize the use of enforcement officers beyond public health, municipalities, WorkSafe, and police that will come into effect next week.”

As previously stated, and based on this information, he continued, “the government will take further steps to impose stricter penalties.”

He advised people to “expect an announcement from my colleague, the solicitor general, later this week on these enforcement measures.”

In the meantime, Dix also reminded people that the 50-people-per-gathering limit “is not a minimum. Fifty is the maximum number of people that can go to a gathering in British Columbia at this time.”

But depending on the type of venue, or where the event might be held, “the number that’s safe for you, and who’s there that’s safe for you, is considerably below this.”

Dix also took the opportunity to recognize the efforts “of many businesses, but we cannot let a few wreck it for everybody else, and that’s the reason why action is being taken.”

His comments come on the same day that BC reported a total of 236 new cases of coronavirus since Friday.

During the press conference, Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Réka Gustafson said this includes 100 new cases between Friday and Saturday, 88 new cases between Saturday and Sunday, and 48 new cases between Sunday and Monday.

By specific health region, Gustafson said this equates to 1,419 known cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 2,425 in Fraser Health, 154 on Vancouver Island, 405 in Interior Health, 117 people in Northern Health, and 74 from those who reside outside the province.

These latest cases bring the total number of recorded cases in the province to 4,594.

There are currently 743 active cases in the province. Out of these active cases, four people are in hospital, and three of these are in intensive care.

There have been two new deaths in this same time period, bringing the provincial death toll to 198.

A total of 3,653 cases are now considered fully recovered in the province, as well.

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