Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix are reporting 34 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., including one new case in Island Health.
Island Health has now had 141 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.
B.C. has had a total of 3,362 cases since the start of the pandemic, including 1,049 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,742 in Fraser Health, 141 in Island Health, 304 in Interior Health and 69 in Northern Health. There have also been 57 cases among people who reside outside of Canada.
Three of the new cases announced Wednesday are epidemiologically-linked. Epidemiologically-linked cases are people who were never tested but were presumed to have COVID-19 because they developed symptoms and were close contacts of a laboratory-confirmed case
According to Henry, there are now 70 cases linked to a cluster of cases in Kelowna.
Close to 1,000 British Columbians are self-isolating at home because they have been exposed to someone with the virus.
“This means people are unable to work, see friends, enjoy the summer,” Henry said.
Henry is once again reminding people to keep their contact numbers small as contact tracing three or four people is easier than tracing 20 to 30 people. With each additional person, the time they have to develop symptoms increases risk.
“Being outside is not enough,” Henry said.
“Keep away from others, keep your group away from other groups.”
There are 285 active COVID-19 cases, with 17 hospitalizations (two more than July 21) and three people in intensive care.
No new deaths were reported Wednesday. The death toll remains at 189 with 2,888 recoveries.
New rules for nightclubs and bars
Henry said the COVID-19 curve is going upwards. She also announced on Wednesday that changes have been made to the regulations around bars and nightclubs.
All patrons in bars and nightclubs will be required to be seated, alcohol self-service will not be available, and dance floors will be closed.
“The B.C. COVID-19 curve is trending in a direction we don’t want it to go — upwards,” said Henry.
Henry said people should not ask a server to accommodate more than six people and should not table hop.
She also said there will not be regional restrictions in the province, despite the high COVID-19 numbers in Interior Health, as people are travelling around the province. However, there is ongoing discussions about implementing restrictions on certain activities in the Kelowna area.
“We can have fun and a safe summer despite COVID-19,” she said.
“We are not going to go back to things we had to do earlier. In order to keep going forward, we need to go back to safer interactions.
Henry said she doesn’t think B.C. lifted COVID-19 restrictions too soon (the province is currently in Phase 3 of its restart plan).
“We have been very measured. It is not surprising to me as people are travelling more, that we have more cases. People are getting together with small groups, but different groups every night,” she said.
“We need people to start paying attention again. Every time you meet a group of new people, you’re exposing yourself to new risk. We need to get on top of it.”
Henry and Dix were asked on Wednesday at a drum circle at Vancouver’s Third Beach on Tuesday that has sparked concerns about the potential of spreading COVID-19.
As for students returning to school in the fall, Henry said there will not be a mandate for kids to wear masks. She also noted wearing a mask for a long period of time is not recommended for anybody.
To see B.C.’s COVID-19 numbers by day, recoveries and testing numbers, visit the B.C. COVID-19 dashboard.
According to researchers with Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide is more than 15 million, with more than 619,000 deaths.
Watch Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix on July 22, 2020 below:
With files from CBC