A pub trivia night that led to an outbreak at Burnaby’s largest daycare has resulted in more than 300 COVID-19 cases, Dr. Bonnie Henry told a news conference Thursday.
B.C.’s provincial health officer provided the number as she described the complex series of factors she is monitoring before she can decide whether to loosen or tighten restrictions in the coming days.
Among the issues she is watching is the recent “uptick” in the reproductive rate of COVID-19 transmission, which she said has been above one in Fraser Health and the Vancouver Coastal health region, as well the percentage of test positive cases, which is 8% in Fraser Health compared to 6.7% in the rest of B.C.
“It’s like a tree that keeps growing and spreading, but we need to keep cases low and slow so we can control that. We are continuing to watch these indicators and when we have confidence that they are slowing in a sustained way, that is when we will be able to ease restrictions,” Henry said.
The exposure at St. James’s Well in Port Moody was flagged by Fraser Health, which resulted in the pub being closed for several days and WorkSafeBC conducting an investigation requiring the pub to update its COVID-19 safety plan by adding supervised daily health checks for its 28 workers. The pub also implemented a policy requiring patrons to wear masks in any space shared with workers or other members of the public.
That exposure was linked to an outbreak at the SFU Childcare Society on Burnaby Mountain, with at least 28 cases in staff and children.
A representative from B.C.’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees told The Tri-City News the transmission at the Newport Village pub occurred when an asymptomatic patron left their table and interacted with another group.
Health officials have never named the pub, but St. James’s Well was identified on the Fraser Health website when it listed the exposure notification and asked people to self-monitor for symptoms.
The exposure event remains on the website.
While not naming the Port Moody pub, Henry said a pub she talked about before was responsible for hundreds of COVID-19 cases.
“We talked last week about the event of a pub. That led to over 300 people being affected, including transmission in a day care, transmission in a school, transmission in a number of other workplaces and in families.
“These are the chains of transmission we need to stop as soon as we can and that’s why we pay attention to not only the overall numbers and how they’re moving, but numbers in different communities and where those transmission events are happening,” Henry said.