Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Dec. 17, 2020. (B.C. government)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Dec. 17, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. finished 2020 with 683 more COVID-19 cases, eight deaths

Increase shows ‘precarious situation’ for New Year

Ending liquor sales at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve was a necessary step to keep a lid on COVID-19 transmission as B.C. heads into 2021, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

An increase in new cases shows the “precarious situation” that still exists as B.C. carries on restrictions into 2021, Henry said at the year’s final briefing from the B.C. legislature. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix reported an uptick in new cases Dec. 31, with 683 additional cases identified, after a decline since before Christmas.

Henry acknowledged Thursday that the decision to cut off alcohol sales at restaurants, pubs and retail stores two hours early on New Year’s Eve is another difficulty for them. It’s the staff who have to deal with parties that get out of hand when people drink too much and forget their infection precautions, “and sadly we have seen that happen, even in the last few weeks,” she said.

Henry said the 8 p.m. cutoff has prompted some people to move their reservations to another night, as struggling restaurants will need the business for many weeks after the holidays are over.

B.C.’s daily cases have declined in recent days, with 485 new cases identified on Wednesday, 382 Tuesday, 441 on Monday, 424 on Sunday, 447 on Saturday and 512 cases last Friday, Christmas Day. Daily reported tests results also declined during the holidays, down to 4,675 on Tuesday after reaching highs of as much as 15,000 tests a day during the peak of the second surge of infections in November and early December.

B.C. recorded eight more deaths Dec. 31, seven of them in the Fraser Health region where the majority of new infections continue to be identified. There have been two more outbreaks declared in the health care system, one at Williams Lake Seniors Village and one at Langley Memorial Hospital’s long-term care centre.

Two health care outbreaks have been declared over, at Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Banfield Pavilion in Vancouver. A community outbreak at the Big Horn Motel in Watson Lake on the Yukon border has also been declared over.

RELATED: WHO predicts that COVID-19 will become endemic

RELATED: Ottawa gives green light for NHL training camps


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Visitors relax at the natural hot springs located within Maquinna Marine Provincial Park. (tofinohiking.com photo)
Maquinna Marine Provincial Park boardwalk project on track

“The walk down the two-kilometre boardwalk to the springs itself is by far one of the most incredible experiences.”

WILDLIFE TREE: Tofino Poet Laureate Christine Lowther stands next to a giant cedar tree on District Lot 114, the site of Tofino’s controversial affordable housing project. The tree was pinned with an official Ministry of Forests yellow wildlife tree sign to educate fallers that the tree needs to be left standing for food, shelter and nesting. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Tofino author Christine Lowther calling for poetry about trees

“I’m thrilled to be of service to trees through poetry.”

Tofino will elect a new mayor and two new councillors on March 6. (Westerly file photo)
Tofino’s mayoralty candidates lay out key differences

Tofino will elect a new mayor and two new councillors on March 6.

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Clockwise from top right, chamber executive director Jen Dart moderated a Zoom-based forum last week where Tofino’s mayoralty candidates J.J. Belanger, Andrea McQuade and Dan Law made their pitch to lead their community. (Screenshot)
WATCH: Tofino mayoralty candidates face off at forum

Town to elect new mayor and two new councillors on March 6.

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

1957 photo shows Six Mile House-sponsored #4 1932 Ford stock car with Frank Morris (from left), Ted Mackenzie, Bill Sim and driver Gerry Sylvester. (Bud Glover/Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame)
Memories race as Western Speedway approaches its finish line

‘It was life to us:’ Vancouver Island racers, crew will never forget what the track gave them

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Most Read