COVID-19: More than 100 event organizers fined for parties in

Adrian Dix wearing a suit and tie: Minister of Health Adrian Dix in March. © Provided by Vancouver Sun Minister of Health Adrian Dix in March.

Growing COVID-19 clusters in two B.C. ski communities, exposures at the St. Paul’s and Chilliwack hospitals and a provincial state of emergency extension were reported on Tuesday.

Interior Health issued a public alert early in the day, warning of a dramatic jump in cases in the weeks since a cluster was declared over in Revelstoke.

That cluster of cases was identified in November and was linked to 50 cases.

According to Interior Health, there were 35 cases reported in Revelstoke between Dec. 11 and Dec. 26, with 22 in the last weekly reporting period.

In a statement, the health region said, “There is no specific source for the new cases. It is for this reason all residents and businesses are reminded of the importance of COVID-19 testing at the first sign of illness and to keep social bubbles small.”

Later in the day, the health authority issued assurances to skiers and snowboarders visiting Big White resort near Kelowna after reporting a further 25 cases related to workers at the resort — bringing the total there to 136.

“The risk remains low for families and individuals visiting Big White Mountain who follow public health guidance. In other words, it is safe to go to Big White when you stick to your immediate household bubble and avoid socializing and gathering, etc.”

Of the Big White-related infections, 88 are among people who live at the ski resort. There are 27 active cases.

According to Big White’s senior vice-president, Michael J. Ballingall, there are 2,650 people living at the resort during winter — 650 Big White staff, 500 workers in related businesses and 1,500 residents.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Adrian Dix reported 428 cases in B.C. over the past day and eight deaths.

There are 6,472 active cases of the disease in B.C., of which 367 are being treated in hospital including 77 people in intensive care.

There are 8,596 people in self quarantine across the province after being exposed to the disease.

The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said that 4,070 people were vaccinated between noon Monday and noon Tuesday, putting the province on track to deliver the promised 150,000 vaccine jabs by the end of the month. There have now been 28,209 vaccinations administered of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in B.C.

This came as the provincial government extended the COVID-19 state of emergency for another two weeks, to Jan. 19.

The state of emergency was declared on March 18 and allows police to issue tickets and fines for health order violations.

There were 574 violation tickets issued between Aug. 21 and Jan. 1 — including 103 with a $2,300 fine for organizing events and 450 with a $230 fine for people disobeying a health order. There have been 77 federal violation fines issued in B.C. under the Quarantine Act, totalling $84,000.

The outbreak at St. Paul’s Hospital in the Vancouver Coastal Health region is on floor 5A in the hospital’s heart unit and has affected several patients. Visits are allowed only in end-of-life situations.

At the end of the day, Fraser Health reported an outbreak at the Chilliwack Hospital, with one case.

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