– Story by Mike Patterson

Provincial health officer Dr. Henry says fall is a time when many holidays and celebrations occur, whether it is Halloween, Diwali or Remembrance Day.

She also notes that it is a time of cooler weather, increased respiratory illness and, this year, the added challenge of COVID-19.

She says many of the new cases are directly linked to gatherings, in homes and elsewhere, “that are now resulting in community transmission of COVID-19 in communities across the province.”

Saturday is Halloween and the provincial health officer warns that we need to celebrate in new ways to keep our groups small.

“Trick-or-treaters are reminded to give others the space to stay safe and to respect those homes that are choosing not to participate this year. And we remind everyone that there is a provincial health officer’s order limiting the number of people who can be in your home to your household, plus no more than six.”

Dr. Henry reported 234 new cases on Thursday, pushing the total number of cases recorded this year to more than 14,000 in British Columbia.

There are 2,344 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, 5,714 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and 86 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19.

On Vancouver Island, there are three new cases to report, with 10 active cases on the Island.

Province-wide, there have now been 11,448 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered.