As B.C. had a record-high number of new daily COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, health officials have noted that many new cases stem from superspreader events such as weddings and funerals.
“A wedding is meant to be a time of celebration, yet weddings and other important life occasions are a significant source of community transmission; transmission that has spread to health-care facilities, workplaces, and schools,” reads a joint statement from the B.C. government on Wednesday.
“Now is the time to keep these celebrations small and to plan for bigger family gatherings at a time when we are no longer putting our seniors, elders and others at risk.”
More than 70 per cent of new cases over the past five days have been in the Fraser Health region, notably in Surrey, Langley and Delta.
“Some of it is spread within large family groups inadvertently, but there’s a large number of essential workers,” Henry said Monday.
“I think this is really continued transmission in the kinds of places we know COVID can spread,” she said.
What is a superspreader event?
Superspreader events have popped up across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Forty-nine out of 63 guests who attended a recent wedding in Calgary contracted COVID-19.
A study out of Hong Kong found that around 19 per cent of COVID-19 cases were responsible for 80 per cent of transmission events, while 69 per cent of cases didn’t infect anyone.
Infection control epidemiologist Colin Furness recently told Global News not everyone who tests positive for the virus will infect others.
However, Furness added that in certain conditions, one person can cause many others to get sick, leading to superspreader events.
“A superspreader event will tend to happen when people are sharing airspace indoors for prolonged periods of time with poor ventilation … That describes restaurants, bars and gyms to a large degree,” Furness said.
Henry said earlier this week that B.C. is in its second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She reminded British Columbians that they can help control the trajectory of the outbreak by keeping social interactions low so schools and scheduled surgeries can continue.
The province is warning more enforcement can be expected in the coming weeks if individuals and businesses don’t adhere to safety protocols.
“I think the answer, unfortunately, for now has to be we need to be toning down and really pulling back from some of those crowded indoor gatherings,” Colijn said.
— With files from Catherine Urquhart, Nicole Brumley and The Canadian PressView link »