British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Nov. 19

Provincial health officials announced new restrictions, orders and guidelines Thursday on masks, socializing, and community and social events. The province also announced new case numbers.

B.C. health officials announced significant new restrictions Thursday

A poster of Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, is pictured at a COVID-19 testing centre in Burnaby. (Ben Nelms/CBC)


  • B.C. health officials announced new restrictions Thursday.
  • Health Minister Adrian Dix tweets that effective immediately, masks must be worn in indoor public and retail spaces by both staff and customers. Masks also must be worn in work spaces including elevators, corridors and behind service counters serving customers.
  • Dr. Bonnie Henry's order against socializing outside of one's own household extended to Dec. 7 and now covers all of B.C.
  • Community and social events are cancelled, even those under 50 people for two weeks.
  • British Columbians told again to avoid unnecessary travel. People outside B.C. asked postpone trips to province.
  • 538 new cases of COVID-19 were announced Thursday.
  • One more death was announced Thursday
  • There are 6,929 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.
  • 217 people are being treated in hospitals, including 59 in ICU.

B.C. health authorities issued significant new orders and guidelines for British Columbians Thursday, including new orders on mask wearing and against socializing beyond one's household.

Health Minister Adrian Dix tweeted that effective immediately, masks must be worn in indoor public and retail spaces by both staff and customers. Masks also must be worn in work spaces including elevators, corridors and behind service counters.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said an existing order in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions against socializing outside one's own household has now been extended until Dec. 7 and now covers the whole province.

As well, all community and social events are cancelled, including in-person faith services, even if they are under 50 people, for the next two weeks.

Businesses are also being told to suspend any plans to return employees to office environments. Businesses are also being told to re-evaluate whether safety plans are being followed as transmission is being seen between co-workers.

Premier John Horgan said travel restrictions in southwest B.C. would be extended while addressing the media on Tuesday, and called for all non-essential travel between provinces to be shut down.

On Thursday, Henry also said British Columbians should not travel for non-essential reasons and anyone planning a trip to B.C. should take a rain check.

Henry also provided an update on case numbers Thursday.

She reported 538 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and one more death.

There are 6,929 active cases in the province. 321 people have died. The province has recorded 24,960 cases so far.

As of Thursday, 217 people are in hospital with COVID-19 including 59 in intensive care.

Six new outbreaks were declared in the health care system. There are 59 current outbreaks: 40 in long-term care and 19 in acute care.

A new community outbreak was declared in Kitimat at the LNG Canada worksite.

Record cases Wednesday

Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced a record high of 762 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 10 more deaths.

Provincial health officials have said the priority is to keep community transmission low so schools can remain open. Over the weekend, three schools in the Fraser Health authority closed because of positive COVID-19 cases.


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What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of Thursday morning, Canada had recorded 313,532 COVID-19 cases, with 51,411 of those considered active cases. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 11,248.

Ontario is reporting 1,210 cases of COVID-19, with 361 new cases in the Peel Region, 346 in Toronto and 143 in the York Region, with possible lockdowns coming for those areas.

COVID-19 has killed 110 Albertans in November so far, making it the worst month of pandemic, while outbreaks have been declared at six oilsands sites.

Manitoba's top doctor said Wednesday it's a "very daunting time" in the province as health officials announced 11 additional deaths and 400 more cases of COVID-19. Hospitalizations in the province hit 249, with 40 people in intensive care.

In Nunavut, health officials reported 10 additional cases on Wednesday, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 70.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Stay home. Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
  • Keep your distance from people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.


With files from Bethany Lindsay


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