A healthcare worker uses a grabber to hand a woman a piece of paper at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A healthcare worker uses a grabber to hand a woman a piece of paper at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

No ‘safe six’ for household gatherings in Fraser Health as region leads B.C. in COVID cases

Majority of new cases are now emerging in Fraser Health

When provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued her latest public health order, she limited the number of people who could gather in a private home to the household, plus their safe six.

But those living in Fraser Health, B.C.’s most populous health authority, have been asked to limit even further.

“In Fraser Health, due to the rapidly escalating case count, we’re going one step further and asking our residents not to hold parties, with people outside their household, inside their home at this time,” said Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin, Fraser Health’s interim chief medical health officer and vice-president, population health.

“But if you would like to have a celebration at home with just your household, that’s great.”

Brodkin said that residents who want to meet up with a few people outside of their household should do so in a venue with a COVID-19 safety plan to reduce transmission. Getting together outdoors is also another option, she noted, but asked people to still stay away from large outdoor gatherings. Currently, B.C.’s limit on gatherings is 50, with physical distancing in place.

Fraser Health has been a topic of discussion in recent days, and has contributed to B.C.’s high daily COVID-19 case counts in the recent weeks. When 217 cases were announced on Tuesday, 145 of those were in Fraser Health. In total, the health authority – which is home to 1.8 million people – has had 7,674 confirmed virus cases and 119 deaths since the pandemic began. B.C. as a whole has had 13,588 confirmed cases and 259 deaths.

The health authority, which is densely populated and home to multi-generational households, felt it needed to take extra steps to get its case count under control.

“We all have to make sacrifices to bend that curve right now,” Brodkin said, adding that education is key to making sure people understand why new restrictions are put into place.

“Most people want to do the right thing.”

READ MORE: COVID Alert app has ‘been a challenge,’ not suitable for B.C. yet

For those who are deliberately breaking the rules, enforcement and fines are a possibility.

But Brodkin said that nixing the “safe six” is not about locking down homes completely.

“Our request is not about about preventing mum from coming over to have a cup of coffee,” she said, nor is it for people caring for out-of-household family.

“It’s about those larger gathering, gatherings celebrations of life, gender reveals.”

For the upcoming Halloween weekend, Brodkin said the same rules apply.

“We are certainly not cancelling Halloween. It’s totally possible to trick-or-treat and try to normalize things as much as possible for the children,” she said.

“A party inside their own household is totally fine.”

READ MORE: COVID-19 surge in B.C. fuelled by spikes in new cases in Fraser Valley & Surrey area


@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.

CoronavirusFraser Health

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

Just Posted

Langley residents took their questions and concerns to TransLink’s open house at Langley City Hall in November of 2019. (Langley Advance Times files)
LETTER: Langley MP’s SkyTrain request will go nowhere

Liberal government will ignore Conservative MP’s call for SkyTrain funding

Langley City’s Gregory Douglas snapped a picture of a rainbow over the downtown core Tuesday, Nov. 24. “Just wanted to share this beautiful view that I happened to capture today, that illustrates not only Mother Nature’s beauty,” but what an “amazing city” we live in. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
SHARE: Langley City resident discovers treasure and both ends of the rainbow

Send us your photo showing how you view Langley, and it could be featured in a future edition

Sonya Perkins of Langley’s Forever Yours Lingerie said there’ve been challenges, but customers are supporting local shops during the pandemic. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
‘Shop Local’ key as Langley businesses work through COVID

Business groups are trying to encourage local buying to keep stores alive

Army and Navy was in business for more than a century but closed earlier this year, citing COVID-19 as the cause. The space at Langley Mall has been taken over by McFrugal’s Discount Outlet. (Lisa Farquharson/Black Press Media)
Few closures as Langley businesses battle COVID-19 downturn

Smaller, Canadian chains among casualties locally

Velma MacAllister, coordinator of the Langley Christmas Bureau, holds up donated gift cards at the bureau’s temporary location at Timms Community Centre in Langley City. The bureau is in need of cash, gift card or cheque donations this year to support 800 local families. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)
Generosity imperative this holiday season

Langley Christmas Bureau is dependent on the donation of gift cards this year

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

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

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Police lights
Vancouver elementary school locked down after unknown man walks into classroom

Police arrested the man and sent him for a psych evaluation

Most Read