A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

834 new cases, 12 new COVID-19 deaths as B.C. works on immunization strategy

That brings the total death toll to 469

B.C. is reporting 834 new COVID-19 cases and 12 new deaths as of Wednesday (Dec. 2), according to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

By region, that breaks down to 529 in Fraser Health, 174 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 66 in Interior Health, 20 in Island Health and 45 in Northern Health. Three of the new cases are epi-linked.

That brings the total death toll to 469. Total cases have reached 34,728, of which 8,941 are currently active. There are 337 people in hospital with the virus, of whom 79 are in ICU or critical care.

There are currently 54 active outbreaks in long-term care and seven in acute care, with a total of 1,472 people affected. Of those, residents make up just over one-third of cases.

“We are continuing to see unchecked transmission,” Henry said.

“The need to follow provincial health orders is so important.”

The province has hired 161 new contact tracers in the past week, with a total of 1,096 of the at-least 1,200 that Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province plans to hire.

Henry said that the news that the U.K. had become the first country to approve the Pfizer vaccine was a good sign. However, she noted that it would be “some time yet before we get there.” The province is working to finalize its immunization framework to be ready to roll out the vaccine, expected in the first weeks of 2021.

Dix said that B.C. is speaking with the Red Cross and speaking with the Department of National Defence on the logistics of rolling out the vaccine.

There are no mandatory immunizations in B.C., and Henry said that will continue with the COVID-19 vaccine. However, for people who work, or visit, in long-term care the province will be “strongly encouraging” vaccination against the novel coronavirus.

READ MORE: Indoor adult sports teams banned, deemed too risky as B.C. battles surge in COVID cases

The provincial officer urged everyone to continue to “stay local, stay small” and to avoid crowded spaces.

Gatherings and events of any sort are banned in B.C. until Dec. 7 but Henry acknowledged that extending that order “is something that we’re looking at.”

Everyone in B.C. is being asked not to travel unless it is for medical or essential reasons, whether within B.C. or outside of the province.

“We need to stop right now,” Henry said, noting an example of a sports team that travelled outside of B.C. and led to dozens of COVID exposures.

READ MORE: Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Henry said that it was okay if a loved one returned home for the holidays, but that this person needed to stay within the household and follow all public health orders.

“I cannot stop you by an order from getting into your car or on a plane but I am asking you in the strongest terms,” she said.

Henry acknowledged the difficulties of not travelling and a lack of holiday events as the season nears.

“All of these things we love to do are on pause,” she said. She urged people to get outside, safely, and get fresh air and exercise as the winter months descend on B.C.

Some activities, like hot yoga, spin classes and high intensity interval training are on pause indefinitely, while guidelines are expected for other indoor group fitness activities next week.

Henry acknowledged that there are people who have flouted the rules and that establishments have been shut down and those responsible fined.

But she said that it was a “very small, if visible and vocal” minority of British Columbians who are breaking the rules.

“I know these restrictions put an added burden on what is already a difficult time for us, and they seem never ending,” Henry said.

“We’ve done a lot… and I’m asking everybody to do a little bit more to protect those we are closest to.”

READ MORE: B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusvideo

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oliver Town Hall (Town of Oliver Facebook).
Call for local artists to design centennial logo for Oliver

The Town of Oliver will be celebrating 100 years in 2021

Vaseux Lake in winter. (Facebook)
Dogs rescued after falling through ice on Vaseux Lake

Good Samaritans saved the trapped dogs

“My grandma always just said…making people smile is the most important thing,” says Nicholas Kruger. (Chehala Leonard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Entrepreneur Nicholas Kruger nominated as Okanagan community changemaker

With humour and knowledge, Nicholas Kruger says it’s important to give back

Geoff Orr began building his dream home in the hills above Penticton over 14 years ago. The architect used recycled lumber from the old Super-Vale grocery store. (Floating Orb Productions / YouTube)
WATCH: Penticton man shows off dream home made from recycled lumber

A lot of the lumber used was taken from the demolished Super-Valu grocery store

Colton Jacob Thorsen. (Facebook)
Accused Osoyoos shooter to be tried by judge

Colton Jacob Thorsen is charged with attempted murder stemming from an October 2020 incident

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

RCMP released this photo on Jan. 27, 2021 of Terrance Jones, 40, a Caucasian man with a closely shaved head, brown eyes, dirty blonde or brown hair, and a thin mustache and beard. The inside of his right arm is covered in tattoos, including one of a face. (Kamloops RCMP photo)
RCMP want public’s help to locate Shuswap man wanted on charge of attempted murder

Sicamous man was arrested previously on Jan. 11 for allegedly breaching conditions of release

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Vernon’s Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
COVID-19: Two more deaths at Vernon’s Noric House

Total deaths climb to 17 at local long-term care outbreaks

A change to the drive thru sign at the Tim Hortons in Summerland came before Summerland council on Jan. 25. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council approves variance for drive-thru sign

Questions raised about why issue was brought to council table

Most Read