(Files by Catherine Garrett-MyPGNow)

Northern Health has just recorded it’s highest single-day COVID-19 case increase of the pandemic, according to BC Health Officials.

The Health Authority identified 16 new cases, bringing the total amount in the region to 499.

The previous single-day record for the area was 12.

There were 10 new cases in Interior Health for a total of 727 since the pandemic began.

Across the province, a total of 287 infections were reported, four of which were epi-linked, for a total of 13,875.

Of the total cases, 2,316 are considered active with 87 people in hospital and 25 in intensive care.

5,358 people who are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases, and 11,244 people who tested positive have recovered.

Meanwhile, two individuals have died in the past day, the death toll is now 261.

“Our COVID-19 safety efforts start at home, and recently we have seen a number of new cases and clusters directly connected to social events in private homes. That is why there is now a provincial health officer order in place restricting the number of people who can safely be in our homes,” said Provincial Health Officer Doctor Bonnie Henry.

“The new order is about ensuring what happens in our homes is in step with what we are doing elsewhere. Just as we need to keep our groups to no more than six when we go to restaurants, we must also keep our groups small at home.”

There has been a new community outbreak at the Okanagan Men’s Centre in Interior Health.

“We can still spend time with our friends and family, but right now we must all keep to our ‘safe six’ only or take our events outside, where it is far easier to maintain a safe physical distance.

“Let’s save the parties for when it is safe for everyone to celebrate. If you are planning a wedding in your home, make it your immediate family only and save the celebration for next year. If you are organizing a birthday party for your children, only invite those small number of friends from your close social circle, not the entire class or sports team. The things we do at parties and celebrations including talking, hugging and eating and drinking together indoors are much riskier than our normal school or work activities.

In total, 21 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and one acute-care facility have active outbreaks.

“And unlike our schools and workplaces, most homes do not have space for everyone to keep a safe distance from others, nor do our homes have the layers of protection – the physical barriers, one-way pathways and the use of masks – that are part of school and work COVID-19 safety plans.

BREAKDOWN:

Northern Health – 499 (+16)

Interior Health – 727 (+10)

Vancouver Coastal – 4,545 (+69)

Fraser – 7,863 (+189)

Island – 253 (+3)

Outside of Canada 88 (=)