Dr. Bonnie Henry is joined by Dr. Penny Ballem as they arrive to talk about phase 2 in B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization plan at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Dr. Bonnie Henry is joined by Dr. Penny Ballem as they arrive to talk about phase 2 in B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization plan at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

UPDATE: B.C. relaxes outdoor gathering rules, allows kids to have playdates

There are currently just over 4,900 active cases

B.C. has recorded 569 new cases of COVID-19, along with three deaths, as of Thursday (March 11), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a press conference where she presented the newest epidemiological modelling and relaxed gathering rules.

Of the cases, 140 were in Vancouver Coastal Health, 301 were in Fraser Health, 41 in Island Health, 26 in Interior Health, 60 in Northern Health and one in a person who typically resides outside of Canada. Three of the cases were epi-linked. B.C. had found 11 new confirmed cases of variants of concern in the province, for a total of 638 cases. This breaks down to 588 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) variant, 36 cases of the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant and 14 cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant.

Of the variant cases, 89 are active while the remaining people have recovered.

There are currently 4,912 active cases in B.C., with more than 8,900 people under active daily monitoring. There are 244 people in hospital with the virus, 68 of whom are in intensive care or ICU.

The three new deaths bring B.C.’s total death toll to 1,397. There have been a total of 86,219 cases of COVID in B.C. since the pandemic began.

The province has so far administered 366,791 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, of which 87,009 are second doses.

Henry also relaxed the province’s gatherings rules. Gatherings outside of one’s own household have been banned for months, but on Thursday Henry said outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are now allowed, although it must be the same “safe 10,” similarly to last year’s “safe six.” Henry said people must still keep up physical distancing even when meeting up outdoors with their “safe 10.”

“There’s nothing scientific about it,” she added, noting that 10 was simply a group that was small enough to balance safety and socializing.

Henry also relaxed rules around playdates for children, although she did note that children should choose a safe group of friends, stick to those children for their cohort and to keep it outdoors.

“Sleepovers indoor are an ixnay,” she said.

READ MORE: B.C.’s year of COVID-19: infections creep up, senior homes protected


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