Interior Health

British Columbians should say no to all social gatherings and non-essential travel and yes to mask-wearing, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

Nearly 2,000 cases of COVID-19 —90% of them in the Lower Mainland — were reported between last Friday and Monday. Nine more deaths were reported, making the total 299 since the start of the pandemic.

“We are in the most challenging of times,” Henry said Monday. “We have come through one wave. We are now in the midst of our second and it has become even more challenging. The virus is not stopping.”

Of the 1,959 new cases reported province-wide since Friday, 87 are in the region served by Interior Health.

Since Friday, there have been 11 new COVID-19 outbreaks at health care facilities, including one at the Village by the Station care home in Penticton.

No residents of any care home in the IH region have tested positive for the disease; all those affected have been staff.

To protect the safety of all

residents, outbreak protocols have been implemented in the affected units including a temporary pause in face-to-face visits.

Much of the recent virus transmission has been in private homes, rather than through workplaces or shopping areas, Henry said.

“We need to say no to social gatherings right now,” she said. “We also need to minimize our travel.”

Henry said she has been asked many times why B.C. does not have a provincial order requiring the wearing of masks when outdoors. But she said that, in fact, masks are required in many public locations and businesses.

“Masks are important in businesses, in public spaces, on public transit, in stores, on ferries, when we are around people we don't know and are unable to always maintain our safe distance,” Henry said.

Meanwhile, parents in Osoyoos are waiting for word on when their kids can return to daycare after one parent tested positive for the virus.

Osoyoos Child Care Centre was closed again Monday and is expected not to reopen today.