Health orders restricting social gatherings, events and sports extended to February

The extended orders come as the province reports 761 new cases and eight further deaths due to COVID-19

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has extended her current health orders until Feb. 5.

The orders, which prohibit events, social gatherings with those outside of one's own household and sports, among other things, were first put in place on Nov. 7.

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Henry said a number of people made exceptions for themselves over the holiday break, which has led to new cases and clusters.

"If 10,000 people make these small concessions for themselves, that increases all of our risk exponentially," she said.

The extended orders came with news of another 761 new cases of COVID-19 and eight further deaths due to the disease.

Of those cases, 96 are in the Interior Health region, which also accounts for one of the deaths reported Thursday.

Henry noted that the province has changed how new cases are reported, with figures now coming directly from labs in the province. The change is expected to produce "slightly higher" case counts as the transition takes place.

"Every case is still counted and every person who tests positive is informed as soon as possible," she said.

Elsewhere in the province, there have been 94 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 484 in Fraser Health, 23 in Vancouver Island Health and 64 in Northern Health.

In hospital, there are 372 patients with COVID-19 across the province, including 74 in critical care.

Of B.C.'s 56,015 cases, 47,374 have recovered while 970 have died. Another 8,848 people are under active public health monitoring due to exposure to confirmed cases.

On the vaccine front, a total of 41,064 people have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Henry also said two more cases of the U.K. variant have been found, both household contacts with the first case discovered in the province.

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