94 new COVID cases in North Shore Coast Garibaldi health region

Virus is spreading even in smaller gatherings, warns Dr. Bonnie Henry

There have been 94 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the North Shore Coast Garibaldi health region in the past two weeks.

That’s up slightly from the 88 new cases recorded for the previous two-week period, ending Sept. 10.

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The latest figures bring the total case count for North Shore Coast Garibaldi health region – which includes North and West Vancouver, Whistler, Squamish and the Sunshine Coast - since the beginning of the pandemic to 532 cases.

The new case count comes at a time when the number of new cases has been rising in the province, especially in the Lower Mainland.

It also comes as the Squamish Nation fights to contain a cluster of cases among its members. Since the beginning of September, 38 Squamish Nation members have tested positive. Of those, at least 27 have been cleared from self-isolation. The Tsleil-Waututh Nation has reported that two of its members also contracted COVID-19 while visiting people away from their community.

According to B.C.’s Centre for Disease Control, people aged 20 to 39 now make up 44 per cent of all COVID-19 cases in the province. The recent increase in cases has also been sharpest in those age groups, although there has also been an increase in cases among people 40 to 59 as well.

On Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s medical health officer, warned that as fall approaches, people must continue to keep their number of social contacts small. Recently the virus has been spreading even at smaller gatherings, she said.

“Just because you can fit 50 people into your small back garden does not make it safe,” she said.

“If you're in a small place, it may mean that six is okay or two, or having a small number of people If it's outside, but you still need to maintain those safe distances,” she said.

Henry said even when people are socializing outside, if they are too close together and talking or dancing or sharing food, the virus can still spread very quickly in those settings.

Also, “people aren't realizing that if you have a different group of people every night, then you're exposing yourself to an exponential increased number of potential contacts.”

Students in B.C. went back to school full-time this week. But according to the Centre for Disease Control, so far there has not been an increase in the number of COVID cases being reported among children and teens under 20. According to statistics from the BC CDC, 207 children under 10 and 398 teens between 10 and 19 have contracted the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.

Health authorities have said they will publicly post both any COVID-19 outbreaks in schools – where students or staff have caught the virus from each other a school setting - and potential exposures in schools – where students or staff may have been exposed to a person who has tested positive for the virus.

As of Friday, there were no outbreaks and no exposures reported in schools within the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

A group of Grade 9 students and their teachers from Mulgrave School in West Vancouver were ordered to self-isolate earlier this month after being potentially exposed to the virus while taking part in outdoor school day camp activities away from the school.


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