A healthcare worker uses a grabber to hand a woman a piece of paper at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A healthcare worker uses a grabber to hand a woman a piece of paper at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

No ‘safe six’ for household gatherings in Fraser Health as region leads B.C. in COVID cases

Majority of new cases are now emerging in Fraser Health

When provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued her latest public health order, she limited the number of people who could gather in a private home to the household, plus their safe six.

But those living in Fraser Health, B.C.’s most populous health authority, have been asked to limit even further.

“In Fraser Health, due to the rapidly escalating case count, we’re going one step further and asking our residents not to hold parties, with people outside their household, inside their home at this time,” said Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin, Fraser Health’s interim chief medical health officer and vice-president, population health.

“But if you would like to have a celebration at home with just your household, that’s great.”

Brodkin said that residents who want to meet up with a few people outside of their household should do so in a venue with a COVID-19 safety plan to reduce transmission. Getting together outdoors is also another option, she noted, but asked people to still stay away from large outdoor gatherings. Currently, B.C.’s limit on gatherings is 50, with physical distancing in place.

Fraser Health has been a topic of discussion in recent days, and has contributed to B.C.’s high daily COVID-19 case counts in the recent weeks. When 217 cases were announced on Tuesday, 145 of those were in Fraser Health. In total, the health authority – which is home to 1.8 million people – has had 7,674 confirmed virus cases and 119 deaths since the pandemic began. B.C. as a whole has had 13,588 confirmed cases and 259 deaths.

The health authority, which is densely populated and home to multi-generational households, felt it needed to take extra steps to get its case count under control.

“We all have to make sacrifices to bend that curve right now,” Brodkin said, adding that education is key to making sure people understand why new restrictions are put into place.

“Most people want to do the right thing.”

READ MORE: COVID Alert app has ‘been a challenge,’ not suitable for B.C. yet

For those who are deliberately breaking the rules, enforcement and fines are a possibility.

But Brodkin said that nixing the “safe six” is not about locking down homes completely.

“Our request is not about about preventing mum from coming over to have a cup of coffee,” she said, nor is it for people caring for out-of-household family.

“It’s about those larger gathering, gatherings celebrations of life, gender reveals.”

For the upcoming Halloween weekend, Brodkin said the same rules apply.

“We are certainly not cancelling Halloween. It’s totally possible to trick-or-treat and try to normalize things as much as possible for the children,” she said.

“A party inside their own household is totally fine.”

READ MORE: COVID-19 surge in B.C. fuelled by spikes in new cases in Fraser Valley & Surrey area


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusFraser Health

Just Posted

Popular event/party band March Hare will appear in an online streamed performance Friday (June 18) featuring their salute to music of the `60s and `70s as part of BEC Entertainment’s Grand Summer Virtual Concert series. (Contributed photo)
White Rock-based BEC Entertainment continues Friday-night virtual concerts

March Hare and California Surf Incorporated featured

Rahim Manji owns and operates the Hollywood 3 Cinemas in Newton, along with the Caprice in South Surrey, a theatre in Duncan and another in Pitt Meadows. “I think right now it feels different than last June, it just does,” Manji said. “I’m a lot more optimistic, with more people calling, more people out and getting vaccinated, so I think the comfort level is a lot better.” (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey movie theatre operators reopen and rejoice, even with 50-max capacity

‘We have been one of the hardest-hit industries’

A sign warning of a pack of coyotes hangs near 2660 Croydon Dr. (Aaron Hinks photo)
South Surrey woman sounds alarm after encounter with pack of coyotes

Susan Martin said three full-grown coyotes were lurking around her home

(Delta Police Department photo)
Delta police searching for Surrey woman missing at Centennial Beach

Wenyan Lan, 54, reported missing when she didn’t come home from a crabbing/clam digging trip June 14

Ian MacDonald, spokesman for Surrey Police Service. (Submitted photo)
Surrey Police Service launches public consultation campaign

This is to help the SPS form its first strategic plan

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

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

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Most Read