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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelli Paddon, on screen in centre, is sworn in as the Chilliwack-Kent MLA by Premier John Horgan on Nov. 24, 2020. (Screenshot)
Coulter and Paddon sworn in as newly minted MLAs for Chilliwack, Chilliwack-Kent

NDP Premier John Horgan swears in 57 new MLAs, a majority of which are women

(File Photo)
COVID-19: District of Kent responds to provincial health restrictions

CRCC limits schedule, Municipal Hall offers alternate services for those unable to wear masks

The seats in the Chilliwack Cultural Centre’s theatre will be empty for the time being with provincial health orders in effect. (chilliwackculturalcentre.ca)
Chilliwack Cultural Centre shuts doors to observe provincial health orders

While the 2021 schedule is unaffected so far, refunds are being offered for 2020 events

Google Maps screenshot taken at 7:06 a.m.
Early-morning crash on Highway 1 has morning commuters in gridlock

Westbound crash occurred in Langley, west of 264th Street; left lane blocked

The Small Works display features work from local artists on wood panels. Panels are available at Ranger Station Art Gallery (File Photo)
Small Works submission deadline approaching

Ranger Station Art Gallery seeks local artists for upcoming display

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Police lights
Vancouver elementary school locked down after unknown man walks into classroom

Police arrested the man and sent him for a psych evaluation

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)
B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Tabor Home in Abbotsford records 8 deaths and 124 COVID-19 cases

63 per cent of residents at long-term-care facility have tested positive

Most Read