'A warning sign to us all': Family gathering leads to at least 15 COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stresses the need to keep your distance, even outside, as we expand our social circles. She cites one recent instance where a gathering of about 30 people resulted in 15 people testing positive for COVID-19.

B.C.’s top doctor says a recent family gathering linked to a cluster of COVID-19 cases in the Fraser Health region serves as a crucial reminder of the risks associated with expanding our social circles during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“That is a warning sign to us all,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday.

Henry said at least 15 recent cases were linked to a family gathering of around 30 people that took place both indoors and outdoors.

“This is one of the things that we’ve been seeing around the world,” she said.

“One of the most common ways it gets transmitted is the people we are closest to and spend time with.”

Henry said the gathering highlights the importance of keeping our social circles as small as possible, adding maintaining social distance — even when outdoors — and not sharing food are critical when meeting with others.

Henry set out guidelines for expanding social groups last month, as the province prepared to enter the second phase of its plan to reopen the economy.

She said people should keep their expanded social bubbles consistent, and consider making a pact with friends or neighbours about limiting the size of newly shared social circles.

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Hugs and kisses with people outside of our bubbles should remain off-limits, Henry said.

Henry said in May that her ban on gatherings of more than 50 people would remain in place for the foreseeable future, and smaller gatherings are only permissible if people can maintain a distance of two metres from one another.

— With files from Simon Little

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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