FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. government)

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. government)

‘Fewer faces, bigger spaces’: Dr. Henry urges caution as B.C. sees 16 new cases, one death

Warning comes ahead of May long weekend

B.C. has recorded 16 new cases and one additional death due to COVID-19, Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Wednesday (May 13).

The province has had a total of 2,376 confirmed cases, 385 of which are still active. A total of 132 people have died. The death reported Wednesday was of a senior in a Fraser Health longterm care facility.

There are currently 59 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 15 of whom are in ICU.

Henry reminded British Columbians about the rules going forward on gatherings, as the province gets ready to enter phase two of the pandemic response over the May long weekend.

“I know its been challenging to understand what it means going forward,” she said.

The keys, Henry noted, are: “fewer faces, bigger spaces” even as British Columbians expand their bubble up to six people.

Those new people, she noted, should remain constant.

“Don’t change it up every day, that’s not going to be helpful,” Henry said, noting that friends and family should agree to remain exclusive to their new small groups.

And while gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, proper physical distancing must still be maintained outside of people’s bubbles. It’s also a good idea to keep gatherings short and outdoors, Henry said, to limit the time during which the virus can be transmitted.

Ultimately, Henry said, it’s up to everyone to decide on their own if they will expand their bubbles and who to include, depending on the people in their own households.

Health Minister Adrian Dix asked people to consider if any Victoria Day travel plans were truly essential, “even if it’s your second home, even if it’s a place you go to every Victoria Day weekend.”

People who do leave their communities should “bring your own food, bring your own necessities there” to maintain physical distancing.

Henry said non-essential travel within B.C. could become an option in the coming weeks, after the long weekend. She said restaurants and salons will be given specific guidance to open as soon as May 19.

The provincial health officer also lauded the 75,000 British Columbians who had already taken a new B.C. Centre for Disease Control survey at www.bccdc.ca/covid19survey about COVID-19.

“The response has been outstanding.”

The survey includes the further option to sign up for serology testing, which will test for antibodies through a test Health Canada just approved.

The test’s approval was heartening, Henry said, to determine what kind of antibodies are left after both mild and severe cases of the virus, as well as what level of protection they can offer.

“I fully expect this is going to be really helpful for us.”

If you do not need to go somewhere, even if it’s a place you go to every Victoria Day weekend.

READ MORE: B.C. begins broad COVID-19 survey, with option for antibody testing

READ MORE: Trudeau not ready to talk about extending U.S. travel ban, even as deadline approaches

READ MORE: ‘Rapid, serial dating’ a no-go even as people expand their pandemic bubbles: Dr. Henry


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms first death from COVID-19

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

Christopher Anthony Craig Dick is wanted by the Port Alberni RCMP in connection to multiple investigations. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Vancouver Island RCMP seek man connected to assault investigations

Christopher Dick, 36, was recently in the North Cowichan and Duncan region

The Farm Table Inn is one of almost two dozen local restaurants and beverage producers participating in Tourism Cowichan’s “Sip, Savour, Support Cowichan” campaign. Pictured are owners George gates and Evelyn Koops. (Alec Wheeler photo)
Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read