Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Dec. 17, 2020. (B.C. government)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Dec. 17, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. finished 2020 with 683 more COVID-19 cases, eight deaths

Increase shows ‘precarious situation’ for New Year

Ending liquor sales at 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve was a necessary step to keep a lid on COVID-19 transmission as B.C. heads into 2021, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

An increase in new cases shows the “precarious situation” that still exists as B.C. carries on restrictions into 2021, Henry said at the year’s final briefing from the B.C. legislature. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix reported an uptick in new cases Dec. 31, with 683 additional cases identified, after a decline since before Christmas.

Henry acknowledged Thursday that the decision to cut off alcohol sales at restaurants, pubs and retail stores two hours early on New Year’s Eve is another difficulty for them. It’s the staff who have to deal with parties that get out of hand when people drink too much and forget their infection precautions, “and sadly we have seen that happen, even in the last few weeks,” she said.

Henry said the 8 p.m. cutoff has prompted some people to move their reservations to another night, as struggling restaurants will need the business for many weeks after the holidays are over.

B.C.’s daily cases have declined in recent days, with 485 new cases identified on Wednesday, 382 Tuesday, 441 on Monday, 424 on Sunday, 447 on Saturday and 512 cases last Friday, Christmas Day. Daily reported tests results also declined during the holidays, down to 4,675 on Tuesday after reaching highs of as much as 15,000 tests a day during the peak of the second surge of infections in November and early December.

B.C. recorded eight more deaths Dec. 31, seven of them in the Fraser Health region where the majority of new infections continue to be identified. There have been two more outbreaks declared in the health care system, one at Williams Lake Seniors Village and one at Langley Memorial Hospital’s long-term care centre.

Two health care outbreaks have been declared over, at Saanich Peninsula Hospital and Banfield Pavilion in Vancouver. A community outbreak at the Big Horn Motel in Watson Lake on the Yukon border has also been declared over.

RELATED: WHO predicts that COVID-19 will become endemic

RELATED: Ottawa gives green light for NHL training camps


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(BC Hydro photo)
BC Hydro planned power outages to darken downtown Smithers for most of day Sunday, Jan 17

Replacement of poles will affect approximately 250 customers in downtown core from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Smithers Local Health Area reported 25 new cases of COVID-19 Jan. 3 - 9. (BC CDC graphic)
Weekly new cases of COVID-19 rise to 25 in Smithers LHA Jan. 3 – 9

Northern Health reported 49 new daily cases for 497 active, 44 hospitalized, 13 in critical care

The first of two massive turbines headed from Prince Rupert for the Site C Dam near Fort St. John on Jan 10. (Photo: Supplied by Tasha McKenzie)
Massive turbines begin trek across Northwestern B.C.

Hydro-Electric turbines headed from Prince Rupert to Site C Dam week of Jan. 10 to 14

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read