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Limits on capacity of short-term rentals as B.C. reports 81 new cases of COVID-19

Importance of serology testing in fight against COVID-19
Global BC reporter Richard Zussman asks Dr. Bonnie Henry about the new rules for rental properties announced Thursday and how the restrictions will be enforced by public health and law enforcement officials. Henry added that specifics are being worked out and will be announced over the next few days.

B.C. health officials on Monday reported 81 new cases of COVID-19 over the last three days and two new deaths.

There were 36 cases from Friday to Saturday, 21 cases Saturday to Sunday, and 24 from Sunday to Monday. Seven of the cases are epi-linked.

Concerns about ‘out of town’ vistors in the times of COVID
Concerns about ‘out of town’ vistors in the times of COVID

The province also reported two new deaths at Vancouver’s Holy Family Hospital long-term care facility, bringing B.C.’s death toll to 193.

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Read more: B.C. reports 27 new COVID-19 cases, community outbreak on Haida Gwaii

There are 3,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in total in the province. Of those, 3,043 patients have fully recovered, or about 87 per cent.

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B.C. has 264 active cases — a decrease of 30 since Friday. Eleven patients are in hospital — three of whom are in intensive care.

Coronavirus: B.C. introduces new group size limits in short-term vacation rentals
Coronavirus: B.C. introduces new group size limits in short-term vacation rentals

Henry announced that 15 cases are linked to a new outbreak at Fraser Valley Packers, a blueberry packing plant in Abbotsford.

Fourteen cases are connected to an outbreak in Haida Gwaii.

Read more: New vacation rental rules in B.C., as active COVID-19 cases top 300

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Henry said she has amended a provincial health order to address short-term vacation rentals.

“The number of people is limited to the capacity of the space, plus up to a maximum of five visitors,” Henry said.

“This is to get at what we were seeing happening in various places around the province, where there were people having parties in their rental suites or their houses or on boats where there were groups of people. We know that that was an area where this virus has been transmitted.”

Read more: ‘COVID Island’: Locals have sinking feeling about boat parties in Kelowna

It’s the owner’s responsibility to ensure the rules are being followed and that contact-tracing information is collected from all visitors, she added.

A week ago, the province announced 102 new cases over a three-day period, as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry warned of the potential for “explosive growth” in the spread of the novel coronavirus.

B.C.’s Interior has seen an uptick in new cases following a series of exposures at private parties at the start of the month.

Mass gatherings will still be limited to no more than 50 people, Henry said, but the order has been amended to clarify places, such as workplaces and schools, that are exempt from the 50-person limit.

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— With files from Simon Little and Richard Zussman