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British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on July 3, 2020.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

More than 70 people have contracted COVID-19 and close to 1,000 others across British Columbia are in self-isolation after packed events and parties recently in Kelowna, B.C.

Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry said Wednesday that the nearly 1,000 people, who are in every health authority in B.C., are in self-isolation because of exposure to people confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus at those events.

“This means these people are unable to work, to see friends, to leave their homes to enjoy the summer like the rest of us,” she said.

Kelowna, in the Okanagan, isn’t the only B.C. city that’s had large gatherings this month. Dr. Henry made her comments a day after photos and videos of hundreds of people congregating within close proximity at a drum circle on Vancouver’s Third Beach circulated on social media.

“We know that being outside is better than being inside, and it is good to see so many people enjoying our parks our beaches,” Dr. Henry said.

“But if you are in a crowded location, being outside is not enough. We know that it can be transmitted when you’re having close conversations, talking, laughing, with large numbers of people, even if it is outside.”

The Provincial Health Officer reminded the public to choose quieter parks, beaches and lakes and to keep personal bubbles small.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. is at a ‘tipping point’ as province reports 102 new COVID-19 cases

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Also on Wednesday, Dr. Henry said she would be amending a provincial health order to impose stricter rules on bars and nightclubs. The modified order will require all patrons be seated at designated seats and prohibit dance floors and self-serve liquor service.

B.C. confirmed 34 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the province’s total to date to 3,362. There are now 285 active cases in B.C. – the most since May.

Earlier in the week, Dr. Henry had warned that B.C. was seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases and could face “explosive growth” if proper precautions weren’t taken over the summer.

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