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Public Health Order extended through holidays, Interior Health reports two new COVID-19 deaths

Interior Health said the individuals who passed away were a man and a woman, both in their late 70s.

As Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Monday the extension of provincial health officer's orders restricting all gatherings and events have been extended through Christmas and New Years to Jan. 8, 2021, at midnight, Interior Health sadly said in a media release the passing of two more people due to COVID-19.

The two deaths raise the total in Interior Health to six.

“I’m sad to report two additional COVID-19 related deaths; bringing the total in Interior Health to six,” said Susan Brown, president and CEO, Interior Health.

“Both people died in hospital over the weekend and I would like to extend our condolences to their families and caregivers.”

Interior Health said the individuals who passed away were a man and a woman, both in their late 70s.

“It’s never easy to lose a member of our community and our thoughts are with their loved ones,” Brown said.

“Limiting the spread of COVID-19 is our best way of protecting those who are vulnerable. Let’s all continue to do our part as we continue fighting this challenging pandemic together.”

Dr. Henry reported 2,020 new cases of COVID-19, including 10 epi-linked cases over the past 72 hours — from Dec. 4 to 5, we had 647 new cases; Dec. 5 to 6, we had 726 new cases and in the last 24 hours, we have had a further 647 new cases.

There is now a total of 38,152 COVID-19 cases in British Columbia.

Dr. Henry said there are 9,380 active cases of COVID-19 in the province with 359 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 77 of whom are in intensive care.

The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"The orders that we have had in place have started to have an impact on the transmission of the virus in British Columbia,” Dr. Henry explained.

"However, transmission remains high and we need to continue our efforts to reduce social interactions and stop the spread.

“This includes gatherings in people's homes and in public venues.”

Since Dr. Henry last reported, there are 304 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,362 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 45 in the Island Health region, 203 in the Interior Health region, 106 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

Interior Health now has a total of 2,265 with 636 active cases and  on isolation.

Fourteen people remain in hospital in Interior Health with four in ICU.

Recently, Interior Health announced outbreaks at three long term care sites.

There are now five cases at Mountainview Village in Kelowna, eight cases at McKinney Place in Oliver and two cases at Village by the Station in Penticton.

Dr. Henry said the same requirements and exemptions from the published orders continue to apply, with one new change: drive-through and drive-in to drop off people and leave events, as well as drive-in and stay in your car events to a maximum of 50 cars are now allowed.

To read the orders, visit the BC Government link.

“At this time, we are also strongly recommending against any travel other than what is essential for work or medical care,” Dr. Henry said.

"The order extension and travel requirement are necessary steps to help us get through the remainder of the year and protect those who are most vulnerable.

Dr. Henry understands this public order continuation mean celebrating the important December holidays in a different, smaller way than they are used to.

“We can still be festive, but let's ensure it is only with our immediate household,” Dr. Henry said.

For updated provincial health officer's (PHO) orders and new guidance:

For details on new restrictions, visit this link.

For updated PHO orders, visit this link.