Small birthday party leads to COVID-19 death as province reports 234 new cases

Over the past 24 hours, B.C. has had 234 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death attributed to the disease.

Of the new cases, seven are in the Interior Health region.

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The province now has 2,344 active cases, with another 5,714 people under active public health monitoring due to exposure to known cases.

There are 86 people in hospital, including 24 in critical care.

Providing the update from the Fraser Health region, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the death reported on Thursday was a person in their 80s in the Fraser Health region who had attended a small gathering of less than 10 people for a birthday party, where one person had COVID-19.

"Even though it was a small party in one person's home, the majority of people in that home became infected, with this person ending up in hospital and dying from it," Henry said.

The event is a reminder, Henry said, that even small gatherings can be dangerous when the virus is circulating.

Henry said recent gatherings, such as those over Thanksgiving, have led to a recent surge in new cases.

With an order now limiting the number of people who can gather in a private home, Henry said there should be no Halloween parties this weekend.

Henry said talking, hugging, eating and drinking together indoors right now is "much, much riskier" than usual.

She also reminded people to stick to their "safe six" people, and that those people should always be the same six.

By health region, there have now been 4,588 cases in Vancouver Coastal health, 8,036 cases in Fraser Health, 256 in Vancouver Island Health, 734 in Interior Health, 406 in Northern Health and 89 among those who reside outside of Canada, for a total of 14,109 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began.

Four new health-care facility outbreaks were reported on Thursday and one was declared over. The province has a total of 25 health-care facility outbreaks, including 24 in long-term care homes and one in a hospital.

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