B.C.'s top doctor asks sports parents to stay away to prevent COVID spread

VICTORIA — British Columbia's top doctor says a recent increase in COVID-19 cases is linked in some parts of the province to community sports like hockey and soccer, so parents should stay away from games for now.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says players should be prioritized, just like in the recent NHL playoffs, because COVID-19 has been transmitted among those who have socialized before, during and after attending both indoor and outdoor games.

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Henry says transmission of COVID-19 at games has meant some sports facilities have had to close, even though they've had pandemic measures in place.

She says that while physical activity is important, students should stick to one sports team at school as well as in the community.

She announced 549 cases over the past four days, with the highest one-day total of 170 cases between Friday and Saturday.

A total of 10,734 cases of COVID-19 have now been diagnosed in B.C., and five more people have died, for a total of 250 fatalities, and Henry says transmission into the community from recreational sports should be prevented as much as possible.

"We need to step back and remember that even though we want to see everything that our child is doing, that this is a time to focus on letting them play and play safely and making sure we keep our safe distance from others so we don't jeopardize these sports team," Henry says.

"I'm hearing multiple reports of people being involved in multiple different activities and this is a time where we need to whittle it down, make sure we're keeping our contacts smaller," she says.

Henry says the most recent number of cases is higher than what has been seen in B.C., and that partly involved a backlog of tests, mostly in the Fraser Health region.

Of the 39,170 tests done between Saturday and Monday, 1.39 per cent were positive, she says.

Twenty outbreaks are now underway in the province, 17 in the long-term care system and three in acute care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 13, 2020.

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