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COVID-19: Party held on Vancouver beach despite social distancing pleas from health officials

Scores of people held a party on Third Beach in Vancouver Tuesday night despite pleas from health officials to maintain social distancing protocols as the number of COVID-19 cases spike in B.C.
Scores of people held a party on Third Beach in Vancouver Tuesday night despite pleas from health officials to maintain social distancing protocols as the number of COVID-19 cases spike in B.C.

Scores of people held a party on Third Beach in Vancouver Tuesday night despite pleas from health officials to maintain social distancing protocols as the number of COVID-19 cases spike in B.C.

Several videos of Third Beach were posted on Twitter and Instagram showing people dancing and crowding together at the popular drum circle spot.

The Ministry of Health is aware of the incident and has announced it will hold a special news conference today at 3 p.m., likely to address a spike in cases and a lack of social distancing.

It could mean that stricter measures are coming, after B.C.’s health officials hinted earlier this week they may be necessary if people don’t follow the guidelines.

The province is still under a state of emergency and health officials have ordered no gatherings of more than 50 people.

B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has pleaded with people to continue social distancing as community transmission rates spiked significantly.

There were 102 new confirmed cases of the virus on the weekend and on Tuesday, the province confirmed 30 more.

The worst community outbreak is in Kelowna, where a group of six people from Vancouver, Kelowna and Alberta partied in the Okanagan city over the Canada Day long weekend. There are now 60 cases related to that community exposure, as the group went to several venues including a restaurant, fitness facility and beach.

The median age of British Columbians who are testing positive is 50, but Henry said that number was falling, with more people in their 20s and 30s testing positive.

On Tuesday, Minister of Health Adrian Dix said British Columbians will need to make adjustments to their behaviour if a return to Phase 2 is to be avoided, in light of increasing COVID-19 cases.

“What it tells us is — because we know what we can do, because we showed what we can do in March, April, May and in June — that we have to use the tools at our disposal, and they can be used,” said Dix.

“Physical distancing is critical to that, and it’s more important I’d argue.”

Dix said British Columbians needed to “recommit ourselves fundamentally to what we’ve learned which has worked.”

ticrawford@postmedia.com

— With files from David Carrigg and Stephanie Ip

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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