Surrey is not being subjected to any special conditions or measures outside what other B.C. communities are facing despite the city having been described by Health Minister Adrian Dix as “ground zero” for COVID-19 cases in B.C., provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday during a technical briefing.
“No, there aren’t,” she told the Now-Leader, after she was asked if she has plans in the works for Surrey in particular. Henry said the orders updated Thursday are the same across the province. Among these are socializing with those in your household only, at least until midnight Dec. 7.
“Transmissions are the same across the province and orders we talked about today apply to all situations,” she said.
“Is there an upsurge in cases associated with Surrey? Absolutely,” she said. “We know that people live in the Fraser Valley, they live in Surrey, they work in Vancouver, they work in Chilliwack, so people move around. So it is where we’re seeing a lot of transmission right now, and we’re seeing a lot of transmission in multi-generational families in the South Asian community, we’ve been working with that community, but it’s not unique. They are people who are working in different areas, many people in the South Asian community are essential workers, they’re health care workers, and their culture and tradition is about sharing and being together. So we are absolutely concerned, as we are for people everywhere in the province.”
Dix noted that while Surrey is the largest source of cases in the province, that hasn’t always been the case. “In the summer period it was much more in Abbotsford, you will recall.
“Just because you have the most, or it’s the largest, there are cases in Dawson Creek, there are cases in Prince George, there are cases in Kitimat, there are cases on Vancouver Island, there are cases in Vancouver, there are cases everywhere,” Dix said. “What needs to be done in Surrey needs to be done everywhere.”
By Thursday B.C.’s cumulative number of cases so far stood at 24,960 and there have 321 deaths to date, with one more death today. There are 538 new cases in B.C.
“We know our hospitals are getting stressed,” Henry said.
She said 217 patients are being treated in hospital and 59 are in intensive care or critical care.