VICTORIA, B.C. – Following the recent increase of COVID-19 cases across British Columbia, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix held a special briefing on Saturday.

During the briefing, to help further reduce the spread of the virus, Henry placed a full provincial ban on the use of party buses and limos, which is in effect until further notice.

In addition, special regional health orders have been put in place for Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions for a minimum of two weeks, to help reduce the number of new cases. Those orders include the suspension of fitness classes and sport activities. The suspension does not include school-based activities.

While special health orders have been put in place in those two regions, Health Minister Dix says we must not let our guard down in other areas of the province and we must continue to practice safety protocols such as following the already put in place order of holding gatherings of no more than six people outside of your household.

Officials are also asking residents of the B.C. not travel into the lower mainland unless it is for essential travel.  In Saturday’s statement, Dr. Henry said travel into the area isn’t recommended.  “Finally, we are strongly recommending travel into and out of these regions be limited to essential travel only and people within the regions stay within their local community, as much as possible. We ask those who live outside of the regions not to visit unless it is essential.”

Henry says provincial health orders are a last resort but are very necessary to help keep keep the vulnerable safe.

When looking at new cases, nine new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed, Saturday, in the Northern Health Region.

The total number of confirmed cases in Northern Health now stands at 459.

According to Henry, 567 new cases were confirmed across B.C., bringing the total to 17,716.

Hospitalizations in B.C. are above 100, with 31 of those in ICU.