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COVID-19 restrictions extended to entire B.C. Interior Health region as cases surge

Click to play video: 'Interior fitness studios face new COVID-19 restrictions' Interior fitness studios face new COVID-19 restrictions
In a bid to stamp out a COVID-19 surge, B.C. health authorities re-imposed restrictions on group sizes across the area covered by the Interior Health Authority. That means high-intensity indoor exercise classes are cancelled from Field to the Fraser Canyon and mask mandates in effect from Kamloops to the Kootenays. – Aug 23, 2021

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in B.C.’s Southern Interior, provincial officials announced on Friday they are extending the current restrictions in the Central Okanagan to the entire Interior Health region.

This means any community in the Interior Health region will be under the following restrictions:

  • Everyone 12 years of age and older must wear a mask in all public indoor spaces
  • Organized outdoor events will be limited to 100 people
  • Organized indoor events, such as weddings and funerals, will be limited to 50 people
  • Personal outdoor gatherings, such as birthday parties or barbecues, will be limited to 50 people
  • Indoor personal gatherings will be limited to one other family or five people
  • Indoor and outdoor gatherings will need a COVID safety plan in place
  • High-intensity indoor fitness classes are suspended, low-intensity indoor fitness classes will be capped at 10 people and outdoor fitness classes will be capped at 50 people

The province also recommended against non-essential travel to the region, no matter your immunization status.

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Another 689 cases of the virus were reported Thursday as the number of people in hospitals continues to climb.

Click to play video: 'A look at the B.C. communities in the Interior with low vaccination rates' A look at the B.C. communities in the Interior with low vaccination rates
A look at the B.C. communities in the Interior with low vaccination rates – Aug 20, 2021

They climbed to 121 — the highest they have been in nearly two months. Of those patients, 56 were in critical or intensive care, the most since June 8.

Active cases also climbed again, reaching 5,982.

Of the new cases, 219 were in the Fraser Health region, 123 were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 278 were in the Interior Health region, 27 were in the Northern Health region and 42 were in the Island Health region.

The province also reported an additional two deaths.

Click to play video: 'Another 689 cases of the virus were reported this week as the number of people in hospitals continues to climb.' Another 689 cases of the virus were reported this week as the number of people in hospitals continues to climb.
Another 689 cases of the virus were reported this week as the number of people in hospitals continues to climb – Aug 20, 2021

Dr. Bonnie Henry said Friday that once again, the majority of the new cases continue to be among mostly unvaccinated people at events such as weddings and birthdays.

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Health Minister Adrian Dix said there continues to be high transmission rates in areas such as Nelson and Creston, in particular.

“You can choose not to be vaccinated,” Dix said. “But there will be significant things you will not be able to do if you are not vaccinated.”

Click to play video: 'Why is B.C. still seeing high COVID-19 case counts?' Why is B.C. still seeing high COVID-19 case counts?
Why is B.C. still seeing high COVID-19 case counts? – Aug 19, 2021

Read more: COVID-19: B.C. reports 689 new cases and 2 deaths, hospitalizations climb again

Henry added that the displacement of many residents due to the wildfires has made containing COVID-19 especially challenging and put too much pressure on local health agencies.

According to new numbers provided by the province, more than 792,956 people in B.C. still have not received a first dose. That does not include anyone under age 12 who is not eligible to receive the vaccine.

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In Metro Vancouver, Surrey has the highest number of people yet to receive a shot at 84,900, followed by 78,000 in Vancouver, 63,000 in the North and Central Okanagan, and 32,300 in Burnaby, just to name a few.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 restrictions extended to entire B.C. Interior Health region as cases surge' COVID-19 restrictions extended to entire B.C. Interior Health region as cases surge
COVID-19 restrictions extended to entire B.C. Interior Health region as cases surge – Aug 20, 2021

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