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

RCMP stock photo. (Black Press)
Missing Maple Ridge teen safely located

14-year-old girl went missing on Thursday evening

Kai Chand and his four-legged companion, Rosie, walk through the mall with Kai’s mother, Tara. (Special to The News)
Invaluable canine companion motivates teen to give back

Maple Ridge’s Kai and Rosie recently took part in a challenge to raise money for service dogs

If you have a letter you’d like to submit to the editor for consideration, please email us at <a href="mailto:editor@mapleridgenews.com"><strong>editor@mapleridgenews.com</strong></a>. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
LETTER: Shame on local businesses not enforcing mask wearing

Maybe a list should be published saying where not to do business because it’s unsafe

If you have a letter you’d like to submit to the editor for consideration, please email us at <a href="mailto:editor@mapleridgenews.com"><strong>editor@mapleridgenews.com</strong></a>. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
LETTER: There’s good reason for councillor’s actions

Councillor Kiersten Duncan has given much to this community, and deserves some understanding

The City of Maple Ridge is developing a concept plan for the new park area at 241A St. and 112 Ave. (City of Maple Ridge mock-up screenshot/ mapleridge.ca)
City of Maple Ridge hears back from public on new park

The Maple Ridge Parks, Recreation & Culture department engaged with the community… Continue reading

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Claudio Mastronardi, Toronto branch manager at Carmichael Engineering, is photographed at the company’s offices in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. As indoor air quality becomes a major concern in places of business, HVAC companies are struggling to keep up with demand for high quality filtration systems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Business is booming for HVAC companies as commercial buildings see pandemic upgrades

‘The demand right now is very high. People are putting their health and safety ahead of cost’

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

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

Bank of Montreal, located on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. (Google Maps)
Heiltsuk man files human rights complaint against Vancouver police, BMO after bank arrest

Pair remains distraught after employee falsely reports fraud in progress leading to their arrest

RCMP Cpl. Cory Lepine pictured at BC Livestock Producers Co. in Kamloops, Nov. 16. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Meet B.C.’s only cowboy cop; a voice for the livestock industry

Cpl. Cory Lepine serves as a bridge between the law and those who make a living off the land

BCHL
BCHL pushes back season start due to provincial health orders

The delay is minimal, just six days, for now. But the league is open to starting up after Christmas

Most Read