New health restrictions announced for eastern Fraser Valley due to low vaccination rates
Regional health restrictions will be introduced in the eastern Fraser Valley as the region faces a spike in COVID-19 cases and low vaccination rates, health officials said on Tuesday.
The new regional public health order covers Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Hope, Mission and Agassiz-Harrison.
Officials said these communities are seeing an increase in the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 – especially those who are not vaccinated – and that the number of cases is straining regional hospitals.
“Not only do people with COVID-19 have challenges … people with other conditions have their surgeries postponed [and] are not able to get the care they need, ”Provincial health worker Dr. Bonnie Henry said at a press conference Tuesday.
“So we have to act now.”
The province said private gatherings in the Eastern Valley are now limited to five additional people or one additional household, while outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people – unless “all participants are fully immunized.”
Organized events like weddings or conferences will be limited to 10 people, or 50 people outdoors, unless everyone is fully vaccinated, which can be verified on the province’s vaccination cards.
Locations in the area that require a vaccination card will now require proof of two doses, effective immediately.
The province has taken a similar approach with restrictions in Interior Health and Northern Health, which have also seen an increase in cases and a decrease in vaccination rates.
“Simply put, we need more people to be vaccinated,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said.
3rd dose of vaccine to come for seniors in care
Separately, the province also announced Tuesday that it will begin providing a third dose of the vaccine next week to seniors living in long-term residences or assisted living facilities.
These residents will also have access to a “high dose” influenza vaccine to protect themselves as the traditional cold and flu season approaches.
“We know that our elders and our elders have carried a heavy burden and we continue to see cases in these homes,” said Henry.
Also starting Tuesday, all health authorities in British Columbia will begin posting information online about “potential exposure events” in K-12 schools.
The change is part of the province’s updated COVID-19 notification program for students and their families.
The five health authorities will display the name of the school and the dates of exposure in case someone – staff member or student – goes to school while they are contagious, putting them at increased risk. .
People who need to personally take action due to an increased risk will be notified directly, according to the ministry.
Last week, Henry said comments from parents and teachers across the province made it clear they wanted more information on how the virus is spreading in schools.
On Monday, the province confirmed that 2,239 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed over the weekend. A statement says 18 other people have died.
A total of 303 people were hospitalized on Monday, including 141 in intensive care.
People who are not fully vaccinated continue to account for the vast majority of new cases and hospitalizations in British Columbia
As of Monday, 87.7% of people 12 and older in British Columbia received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 80.5% a second dose.
Overall hospitalizations, which typically lag behind peaks and declines in new cases, are down 1.3% from last Monday, but are up about 90% from August 27.
The number of intensive care patients is down about 10% from last week, but is up 67% from last month.
British Columbians are required to present a vaccination card proving that they have been vaccinated to access many activities and services. Adults 19 years of age and older must also present government-issued photo ID.
Maps are available from the province Health Gateway website and can be downloaded to a mobile device or printed.
As of Monday, British Columbians will no longer be able to use their original proof of vaccination and will be required to use the province’s official vaccination card in digital or paper form.
Anyone who is eligible for vaccination and who has not yet received their first and / or second dose can do so by online appointment booking, by calling 1-833-838-2323 or registering in person at a Service BC location.