A new public health order restricting the number of guests and visitors at rental properties is expected in the coming days.
The order is the result of an uptick in cases in Kelowna, stemming from a group of six who partied in late June and early July around Canada Day. Those events have led to a surge in cases in the Interior Health region, including 11 new cases on Thursday.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the order will require those who rent properties to limit the number of guests and visitors to those properties. The order will apply to vacation properties, rental properties, resorts, house boats and other venues and to all regions of the province.
Henry said the order will be enforced by bylaw officers and public health.
B.C.'s provincial health officer made further recommendations to keep groups small, and used six people — the same number of people that can be seated at a single restaurant table — as a guideline.
There are now approximately 1,000 people isolating in B.C. due to potential exposure to COVID-19, many of whom are due to the exposure events in Kelowna, Henry said.
The order comes as the province announces another 30 cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours.
One further death in the province, a person in a long-term care home, was also announced Thursday, bringing the province's total to 190.
By health region, there have now been 1,051 cases of COVID-19 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,750 in Fraser Health, 142 in Vancouver Island Health, 315 in Interior Health, 77 in Northern Health and 57 among those who reside outside Canada, totalling 3,392 cases since COVID-19 came to B.C. in January.
With 2,898 now fully recovered, there are 304 active cases in the province, with 16 in hospital and three of those in critical care.
On mandatory mask usage in B.C.
Henry also responded to further questions on mandatory mask usage, following Quebec's mandatory mask rule that came into effect on July 18.
"I do not believe there is sufficient community spread where mandatory masking, which is a rather heavy handed approach, is needed," Henry said.
She added, however, that masks are "absolutely" recommended when physical distancing cannot be accommodated, such as on transit, and should be done "as a matter of courtesy and respect."