B.C. records 4 COVID-19-related deaths over the weekend as numbers continue to spike
Monday's update includes 294 new cases, bringing active infections to a record-high 1,107
Four people have died of COVID-19 in B.C. since Friday, and 294 new cases of the virus have been confirmed.
There is now a record-high 1,107 active infections of the novel coronavirus in the province out of 5,790 to date, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Monday. Three of the deaths recorded this weekend were in long-term care; to date, 208 people have died from infection caused by the virus.
The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital has risen to 28, including 10 in intensive care. There is one new outbreak in the Normanna long-term care home in Burnaby, after a staff member tested positive.
Since the province entered Phase 3 of its recovery plan, active cases have spiked beyond what was seen in the spring.
During Monday's briefing, Henry urged British Columbians to be more cautious as summer turns into fall, describing the current situation as the "messy middle" of a pandemic that no one expected.
"After many months of restrictions, we all needed to reconnect with our family, our friends this summer. We travelled, we enjoyed our summer, and we recharged. Now we must slow down our social interactions for the respiratory [illness] season ahead," Henry said.
Watch | Dr. Bonnie Henry says this fall people should stay home if they're sick, even with the mildest of symptoms:
"As the cooler weather arrives, we all have to be ready. We have seen the challenges that this virus has, and now is our time to prepare. As we step into our offices, our workplaces, our schools, we need to take a step back from some of the social interactions that we've had this summer. Being ready means all of us going back to the basics."
That means vigilant handwashing, keeping social circles small and especially staying at home when you are feeling ill.
Two outbreaks in the health-care system have been declared over, as has the outbreak linked to numerous exposure events in Kelowna around the time of the Canada Day holiday.
Also on Monday, the McDonald's restaurant at 8191 Alderbridge Way in Richmond was closed for cleaning after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus. The worker's last shift was on Thursday, and everyone who may have been in close contact with them has been asked to self-isolate.
B.C. needs to 'flatten our curve again'
Henry warned that the cold weather could bring a new wave of COVID-19, or it could bring an epidemic of influenza.
"These more challenging colder months, we have to close those gaps that we've had here in the summer and flatten our curve again," she said.
Despite the recent increases in B.C.'s caseload, Henry has been resolute in her approach to the virus. Earlier this month she said contact tracing was working to keep the spread of the virus in B.C. in check.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the summer has shown how quickly people's behaviour can lead to a surge in numbers, pointing to the Kelowna outbreak as an example.
He said everyone should be aware of how opportunities for the disease to spread can come disguised as a chance to hang out with a big group of friends or participate in an activity we've missed.
"COVID-19 is knocking at our doors and we cannot let it in," Dix said.
He said British Columbians should take the rules around eating in restaurants — i.e. a limit on six people per table — as the guideline for socializing in our personal lives.
A maximum six people from outside your household has been the guideline for all social interactions since B.C. moved into Phase 2 of the pandemic response in May.
With files from Michelle Ghoussoub