Social contacts should be limited to six people, Henry says

As the province announces another 165 cases of COVID-19 over a 24-hour period, B.C.'s provincial health officer is reminding people to stick to small groups

As B.C. hits another record-high single-day case count of 165 new cases, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is emphasizing the need to stick the same small group of people when socializing.

She suggested people limit their number contacts to six people when socializing, due to spread now occurring in social settings.

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"They also need to be the same small groups. Spending time with different friends on different days significantly increases our risk."

Henry also reminded people that 50 people is the upper limit for gathering sizes, and that the venue must be large enough to accommodate that many people with appropriate physical distancing.

"Just because you can fit 50 people into your small back garden, doesn't mean it's safe, and that's where we're seeing transmission," she said on Thursday.

One additional death was also announced on Thursday, occurring in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

There have now been 220 deaths in the province.

Of the province's 7,663 total confirmed cases, 1,705 are active and 5,719 have recovered.

There are currently 57 people in hospital, with 22 in critical care.

By health region, there have been 2,714 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 3,937 in Fraser Health, 196 in Vancouver Island Health, 489 in Interior Health (an increase of four since yesterday), 241 in Northern Health and 86 cases among those who reside outside Canada.

Henry also announced a new made-in-B.C. testing solution that will be available to school-aged children ages four to 19.

The test will be conducted with a mouth rinse and gargle that is spit into a tube, making it an easier collection method for young children especially, Henry said.

The collection tubes are being provided by a B.C. company, which Henry said will allow the province to avoid strained global supply chains around lab testing.

The test can also be conducted by anyone, rather than only a health care professional.

Henry called the test one of the first of its kind in the world.

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