Victoria Police is reminding the public that young people are not immune to contracting COVID-19, after stopping a house party in Esquimalt on Saturday night.

According to a statement from VicPD, police received a noise complaint due to a loud gathering at a suite in Esquimalt just after 10 p.m. on Saturday March 21st.

When officers arrived, they found a group of around 10 people, aged 18 to 24 years old, having a house party and not practicing social distancing directives.

“Officers instructed the participants to go home due to the noise complaint and explained the dangers of such a gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads a statement from VicPD.

“Some of the party-goers were undeterred, mistakenly believing their youth made them ‘immune’ to the virus.”

At the moment, police departments have not been authorized to issue fines or arrest people for not following social distancing measures ordered by provincial and federal authorities, in which people are asked to maintain at least one to two metres of distance between each other.

A graph issued by the B.C. Ministry of Health on Friday shows that the age group most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the province is 50 – 59 years but also demonstrates how people aged between 20 – 40 years old are not immune to the virus.

(B.C. Ministry of Health)

In the aftermath of the house party on Saturday, VicPD echoed this information, reiterating provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s directives to practice social and physical distancing as a key step in slowing the progression of the virus, thus preventing overwhelming the health system and unnecessary deaths.

VicPD spokesperson also confirmed to Victoria Buzz that the house party was not the only violation of these directives in Victoria on Saturday.

“We had calls about beach fire parties and other noise complaints. Luckily, when officers arrived people had either departed or were leaving,” said Bowen Osoko in an email.

He adds that any directives to enforce self isolation and social distancing measures would have to come from the Provincial Health Officer.

See all the latest updates about the global COVID-19 pandemic on Vancouver Island

According to the latest updates, B.C. currently has 424 cases of COVID-19, including 37 on Vancouver Island.

In B.C. the most recent developments include provincial health orders for all restaurants and bars to switch to take-out/delivery model if they wish to operate, and the closure of personal services businesses like salons, spas, tattoo parlours, etc.

The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic.

Last week, B.C. joined Alberta and Ontario in declaring a public health emergency in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth declared a provincial state of emergency to support the health ministry’s public health emergency.

The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C.

Canada has tightened its borders and is denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.

U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule, and non-essential travel between U.S. and Canada has been temporarily banned as of March 21st. Moreover international flights have now been restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.

The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.

Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.

The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19  line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.

As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 335,403.

Nearly 14,700 people have died from the illness and 97,594 have made a full recovery.


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