Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)

COVID-19 ‘disproportionately’ affecting Fraser Health: Henry

Health region has about 75 per cent of B.C.’s active cases

In recent weeks, COVID-19 has been “disproportionately” affecting communities in the Fraser Valley, says B.C.’s top doctor.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, along with Fraser Health CEO and president Victoria Lee and Health Minister-elect Adrian Dix spoke from Surrey on Thursday (Oct. 29) for the province’s latest briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party, Oct. 29, 2020

Of the new cases, 173 were reported in the Fraser Health region. That’s about 74 per cent of the new cases.

While Fraser Health is the largest health authority in the province, with about 1.8 million people, it has 1,764 of the 2,344 active cases. That’s about 75 per cent of the active cases, despite having a little more than one-third of the province’s population.

Henry said the province has seen “quite a dramatic rise” in transmission in cases following the Thanksgiving weekend, and “many of the new cases we have today are directly linked to gatherings, in our homes and elsewhere.”

She pointed to the latest death, announced Thursday, that was a woman in her 80s in the Fraser Health region, who attended a “small birthday party” of fewer than 10 people.

“Unfortunately, somebody unknowingly brought COVID-19. Even though it was a small party in one person’s home, the majority of people who were in that home became infected with COVID-19 and this person unfortunately ended up in hospital and dying from it.”

Henry added that there could be instances were people have a wedding where “a part of the ceremony is in a church or a temple or a gurdwara and the rules are followed there,” but then people move the gathering to a home.

“They aren’t able to maintain those distances and people inadvertently spread it and we’re seeing it being spread to hundreds of people through several events of that nature.”

Lee said that while Fraser Health “represents a significant percentage” of all of B.C.’s cases, “we also know that COVID-19 knows no boundaries.”

“At this crucial time, we are asking people who reside in the Fraser Health region to take a pause and reconsider our social interactions outside of our household. This is in addition to the public health order Dr. Henry shared earlier this week,” said Lee.

READ ALSO: Weddings, funerals have ‘potential to become a super-spreader’ event: Fraser Health, Oct. 22, 2020

Henry issued a new order Monday (Oct. 26) limiting gatherings in private homes to a household and their “safe six,” only. She also said there was now an “expectation,” but not an order, that people wear masks in businesses, workplaces and indoor public spaces, especially in high-traffic areas.

On Thursday, when asked if she would implement specific regulations to regional health authorities, Henry said, “There is a possibility of adding regional-specific orders, but we know that most people are following the recommendations that we have.”

Henry added that B.C. hasn’t had a lockdown “as we know them” from other jurisdictions, “and nor do we intend to.”

Asked what could be done for better messaging about enforcement in other languages, Henry said they have been doing “outreach to a number of different communities in the past week in particular, recognizing where people are being infected.”

“When we’re going through a crisis like this, the importance of having our faith community to support us in doing the right thing in keeping people safe and still being able to have that connection to our faith community,” said Henry, adding that they’re looking to the community leaders to “help reinforce the importance right now of keeping our celebrations to small and safe ones, and keeping the larger celebrations of life or parties or other important memories to a time when it’s safe to do so.”

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 4,588 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 8,036 in the Fraser Health region, 256 in the Island Health region, 734 in the Interior Health region, 406 in the Northern Health region and 89 cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

– With files from Ashley Wadhwani, Katya Slepian



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

CoronavirusFraser Health

Just Posted

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Locke seeks breakdown on what Surreyites get for taxes paid to Metro Vancouver

Surrey councillor aims to present motion to council tonight (Monday, June 14) asking city staff to do a cost/benefit analysis

The City of White Rock wants input from residents and businesses on parking practices and regulations in the city. (File photo)
Input sought for White Rock parking survey(double-click to edit)

City to develop new strategy based on data and best practices

Surrey council chambers. (File photo)
Surrey council to consider ‘public engagement’ strategies tonight

Council asked to endorse ‘Public Engagement Strategy and Toolkit,’ and a ‘Big Vision, Bold Moves’ transportation public engagement plan

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey council to consider $7.3 million contract for street paving projects tonight

A city staff report recommends Lafarge Canada Inc. be awarded $7,326,667.95 for 15 road projects in North Surrey and one in South Surrey

Old trucks are seen in the yard at the B.C. Vintage Truck Museum in Cloverdale June 14, 2021. The Museum is reopening June 19 after a seven-month COVID closure. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale’s truck museum to reopen

B.C. Vintage Truck Museum set to open its doors June 19

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read