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 RCMP say Gemina Mitchell (inset) was last seen on May 9, 2021. (File photo/Contributed photo)
Missing Surrey woman last seen May 9

Police are asking for help locating Gemina Mitchell

Musicians perform at Surrey’s Brownsville Bar Park on Saturday, June 19. (submitted photo)
Surrey-area musicians plug in for Saturday-afternoon jams at riverside park

‘We have done this for a month now every weekend, and it draws a socially distanced and safe crowds’

File photo
Surrey Board of Trade vows ‘a lot of noise’ will be made about tax increases

Huberman calls for comprehensive tax review at all levels of government

A butterfly takes a rest on some flowers in a hanging basket in one of three entries in the 2021 Sunshine Hills Community Group Virtual Garden Show by “flowers flowers flowers” category winner Tammy S. (Tammy S./Facebook photo)
18 winners named in North Delta virtual garden show

2021 Sunshine Hills Community Group Virtual Garden Show ran May 28 to June 4

William Henry Rawlison was last seen on Sunday, June 20, 2021. (Contributed photo)
Police looking for missing White Rock senior

William Rawlison, last seen on June 20, may be driving to Kamloops

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Most Read