Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix look on as Premier John Horgan discusses reopening the province’s economy in phases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix look on as Premier John Horgan discusses reopening the province’s economy in phases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

15 recent COVID-19 cases in B.C. linked to 30-person family gathering

The cluster serves as a warning for how careful British Columbians must be, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

As B.C. continues to see a decrease in new daily COVID-19 cases, a recent cluster connected to a family gathering is serving as a reminder to how quickly the novel coronavirus can spread.

According to health officials, 15 recent cases have been linked to a family gathering in the Fraser Health region, which includes most of the Lower Mainland outside of Vancouver and North Vancouver.

ALSO READ: Gaining herd immunity through COVID-19 transmissions ‘ineffective’

Roughly 30 people had attended the event, which took place indoors and outdoors.

“That is a warning sign to us all and it’s not that somebody intentionally brings that in to their community to their loved ones to their family,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday (June 9).

“This is something we have been seeing around the world, the most common ways it gets transmitted to is the people we are closest to and spend time with.”

B.C. is currently in Phase Two in its restart plan following financially crippling social restrictions implemented in early March to curb the spread of the contagious respiratory illness.

ALSO READ: Here’s a phase-by-phase look at how B.C. hopes to re-open parts of society

Since restaurants, gyms and hair salons were given the green light to reopen at half-capacity roughly three weeks ago, transmission rates have remained low – promising news for British Columbians hoping to be allowed to spend a night at their local movie theatre this summer, as part of Phase Three.

But Henry has also cautioned for people to think carefully when expanding their “pandemic bubble,” picking a few friends to start spending time with again.

While the family gathering fell within the province’s order for events to have a 50-person maximum it likely went against some of the physical distancing and hygiene practises health officials are still urging be followed.

“The most important thing is the time that we spend in close proximity with somebody, that one-to-two-metre radius,” she said. “Even if you are spending time outside in close contact talking to someone it is still risky and that is of course our concern right now.”

In the past, Henry has cautioned that the ban on large gatherings will remain in place indefinitely, and the province won’t move into the next phase of reopening unless transmission rates stay low.

ALSO READ: A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything


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ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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