Province reports 683 new cases, eight further deaths as Henry again warns against skirting orders

"Every time you choose to do the right thing, you are potentially saving a life. This includes how you choose to spend your New Year's Eve," Henry said.

B.C. health officials are reporting 683 new cases of COVID-19, discovered over the past 24 hours.

Eight further deaths have also been reported by the province.

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The update given on New Years Eve also brought a message from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, who reiterated the need to adhere to public health orders and prevent transmission.

"My hope is that, by this time next year, we can look back at the sacrifices we made, big and small, and know that we made it out of this pandemic together by staying apart, by connecting remotely and by following the rules.

"Every time you choose to do the right thing, you are potentially saving a life. This includes how you choose to spend your New Year's Eve," Henry said.

On Wednesday, Henry amended a public health order to further restrict the sales of alcohol on New Year's Eve. Sales must cease at all restaurants, bars and retail stores by 8 p.m.

The rationale, she said, is to prevent people from spreading the virus inadvertently.

"Alcohol, we know, limits our inhibitions. What might begin as a quiet dinner can too easily get out of control," she said.

"We've seen that happen even in the past few weeks."

Among the new cases are 64 in the Interior Health region.

Elsewhere in the province, there have been 105 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 447 in Fraser Health, 11 in Vancouver Island Health and 36 in Northern Health.

Henry also said some numbers from the Northern Health region have been over-reported, with an update coming to the BCCDC dashboard to reconcile those numbers.

Three new outbreaks were announced Thursday, including one in Williams Lake at the Williams Lake Seniors Village. One resident is affected. The facility is privately owned and has 113 publicly funded long-term care beds.

The province now has 7,803 active cases with 374 in hospital and 76 of those patients in critical care.

Another 9,364 are under active public health monitoring due to exposure to confirmed cases.

Of the province's 51,983 total cases, 42,129 have fully recovered and 901 have died.

On the vaccine front, Henry said 17,510 British Columbians have now been vaccinated by way of the Pfizer and recently arrived Moderna vaccines.

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