Public warned of potential COVID-19 exposure at Lions Bay Beach Park

Health officials are warning the public of a possible COVID-19 exposure in a public park for the first time.

The potential exposure to someone who has tested positive for the virus includes people who visiting Lions Bay Beach Park on July 26, 27, 29, 30, and 31 during daylight hours, according to Vancouver Coastal Health.

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Health authorities are describing the possible exposures as “low risk,” but say anyone who was at the park on those days should self-monitor themselves.

It’s the first time health authorities have issued a warning about a possible exposure in a public park.

Under COVID-19 protocols, numbers in the park are currently limited to 100 in the beach and swimming area, and the adjacent beach parking lot is closed.

The small scenic park is located about 15 minutes north of Horseshoe Bay, on Highway 99.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s medical health officer, has in the past described the chances of contracting the virus outdoors in a brief interaction as “negligible” and has continued to stress outdoor activities as lower risk than indoor ones.

So far, almost all of the public exposure warnings listed by provincial health authorities have involved indoor settings, with the vast majority involving nightclubs, bars and restaurants in Vancouver, Kelowna and Surrey.

The public has flocked to parks, both regional and provincial, for outdoor exercise and as a place to meet friends in a relatively safe setting since the onset of COVID-19.

Recently, B.C. Parks instituted a requirement for free passes at six of its most popular parks, including Cypress and Seymour provincial parks on the North Shore, as a way to control crowding.

According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, there were seven new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the North Shore Coast Garibaldi health region between July 17 and 30. There have been 272 cases in the region since the pandemic started in January. Most of those have been on the North Shore.

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