B.C. announces record-high 203 new cases of COVID-19 and 1st outbreak at a B.C. school
2 more people have died, bringing total number of lives lost to 256
B.C. health officials announced 203 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest one-day total to date.
Two more people have died from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, bringing the death toll so far to 256, according to a written statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Deputy Health Minister Stephen Brown.
Wednesday's update also includes confirmation of an outbreak at École de l'Anse-au-sable school in Kelowna, where three people have tested positive for the virus. This is B.C.'s first confirmed outbreak in a school setting.
According to a letter sent to parents by Interior Health on Tuesday, all students from kindergarten to Grade 3 and staff who work with them have been asked to stay home and self-isolate until Nov. 4 because of the risk of transmission. The province says about 160 people in total are affected.
Henry and Brown said that many of the new cases detected across B.C. are related to gatherings like weddings, funerals and celebrations of life.
"With COVID-19 still in our communities, we have seen that even small gatherings are risky right now. Inside or outside, large space or small, the fewer the faces the better," they said in Wednesday's statement.
"A wedding is meant to be a time of celebration, yet weddings and other important life occasions are a significant source of community transmission; transmission that has spread to health-care facilities, workplaces and schools.
There are now 1,766 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Of those, 70 people are in hospital, including 21 in intensive care.
Public health is actively monitoring 4,294 people across the province, who are in self-isolation because of COVID-19 exposure. To date, B.C. has had 12,057 confirmed cases of the virus.
Wednesday's update also includes three new outbreaks in health-care facilities and two outbreaks have been declared over. There are active outbreaks in 18 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and two in acute-care units.
Earlier Wednesday, Henry told CBC that it's possible some British Columbians could have access to a COVID-19 vaccine by the beginning of next year.
Ten vaccine candidates are now in Phase 3 clinical trials, meaning they are being tested on hundreds of volunteers to make sure they are safe.
Whenever a vaccine is available, Henry said priority will likely be given to health-care workers, seniors, people with underlying illnesses and those who live in close quarters with others, where the virus is quick to spread.
With files from Bridgette Watson