People attending worship services must now wear a mask, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said today.
Previously, places of worship were not included in the province’s mask mandate for indoor public places. Masks are now mandatory, but can be removed if people are eating or drinking for ceremonial reasons, and readers or celebrants can remove their masks if distancing is in place. Worship services must be limited to 50 per cent of seated capacity unless all participants are fully vaccinated, in which case full capacity can be used.
Restrictions in place in the Interior Health region were removed, but those in the Fraser East region will remain in place. In the Northern Health region, restrictions will also remain in place through at least Jan. 31, 2022. This means bars and nightclubs will remain closed, there will be no in-person worship services, 50 per cent capacity will be in place at some events and personal gatherings will be limited.
The province also identified its first case of the Omicron variant, which is causing a fresh wave of worry worldwide. The person, who lives in the Fraser Health region, recently returned from Nigeria and is currently isolating. There are 204 people in B.C. so far who were recently in affected areas.
Health officials also reported 358 new cases of COVID-19 today. Since the pandemic began, B.C. has recorded 218,426 cases.
Of the new cases, 53 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 107 in the Fraser Health region, 57 in the Island Health region, 85 in the Interior Health region, 56 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
There are 2,889 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and 300 of those people are hospitalized, 104 of whom are in intensive care.
To date, 8,688,112 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C.; 4,069,988 of those are second doses. Health Minister Adrian Dix said today that 419,163 third doses have been administered so far.
This means that 91.5 per cent of adults, 91.1 per cent of people aged 12 and older and 84.8 per cent of people aged five and older have received their first dose of a vaccine. In addition, 88.3 per cent of adults, 87.8 per cent of those aged 12 and older and 81.7 per cent of those aged five and older have received two doses.
There were no new virus-related deaths reported today for the first time in nearly two months.
Health authorities reported one health-care facility outbreak over. Active outbreaks continue at two long-term care facilities, one assisted or independent living facility and two acute care facilities.
From Nov. 22 to 28, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 58.2 per cent of cases.
From Nov. 15 to 28, they accounted for 65.9 per cent of hospitalizations.
Past week cases (Nov. 22 to 28)—Total 2,342
• Not vaccinated: 1,269 (54.2 per cent)
• Partially vaccinated: 93 (4.0 per cent)
• Fully vaccinated: 980 (41.8 per cent)
Past two weeks cases hospitalized (Nov. 15 to 28)—Total 223
• Not vaccinated: 135 (60.5 per cent)
• Partially vaccinated: 12 (5.4 per cent)
• Fully vaccinated: 76 (34.1 per cent)
Past week, cases per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Nov. 22 to 28)
• Not vaccinated: 173.2
• Partially vaccinated: 41.8
• Fully vaccinated: 21.9
Past two weeks, cases hospitalized per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Nov. 15-28)
• Not vaccinated: 28.6
• Partially vaccinated: 8.3
• Fully vaccinated: 1.7
For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and to find a testing centre near you: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.
Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel