British Columbia

COVID-19 claims 11 more lives, as B.C. confirms 711 new cases

B.C. health officials announced 711 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 more deaths on Friday.

338 people in hospital, with 76 in intensive care

B.C. health officials warned Friday that B.C. continues to face a significant surge in community transmission and new cases of COVID-19 and that following public health orders and using all the layers of protection is 'necessary for every person in our province right now.' (Ben Nelms/CBC)

B.C. health officials announced 711 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 more deaths on Friday.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix  said there are currently 9,050 active cases of people infected with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A total of 338 people are in hospital, compared to 301 a week ago, 76 of whom are in intensive care.

The provincial death toll now stands at 492.

"We continue to face a significant surge in community transmission and new cases of COVID-19, which means following the provincial health officer's orders and using all our layers of protection is necessary for every person in our province right now," Henry and Dix said in the statement.

"The virus is not letting up and neither can we."

Public health is actively monitoring 10,957 people across the province who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure.

Two new health-care facility outbreaks have been declared, Henry noted, one at Peace Arch Hospital Foundation Lodge and another at Richmond Hospital. She also confirmed an outbreak at Youville Residence has ended.

In total, there are now 56 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living facilities and nine in acute-care units of hospitals.

Henry also reminded people to stay in small groups and stay local as we head into the holiday season.

"We can still be festive, we can still have fun, but let's ensure it is only with our immediate household.

Vancouver Catholic school goes virtual

An independent Catholic school in Vancouver confirmed Friday that its classes will be virtual as of Dec. 8 due to "severe staffing shortages." 

Our Lady of Perpetual Help School sent a newsletter to parents on Dec. 3 informing them of three COVID-19 exposures, all contained to one class.

"The safety and well-being of our students, families and staff remains our highest priority," it read.

On Friday, the school sent out another letter saying "we are unable to adequately staff the school at a level which is deemed safe, abides by our school safety plan, and provides our students with the high-quality educational experience they deserve."

All students, it says, will be moving to an online platform that will continue until Dec. 18.

New study shows impact on families

A new study, released Friday, found that families with children and adults aged 18-29 reported being hardest-hit by the socioeconomic effects of the pandemic.

The provincewide COVID-19 Survey on Population, Experience, Action and Knowledge had a sample size of 395,000 people.

It found that while seniors aged 70 and older experience the worst health effects, younger adults and parents of young children reported the most severe economic, mental and emotional toll.

Henry says the first shipments of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines should arrive within weeks. Priority patients, including health-care workers and residents in long-term care are expected to receive shots by early 2021.

She says the province expects to be able to provide vaccinations to everyone who wants one by September 2021.

On Thursday, a new provincial health order was posted suspending all adult indoor and outdoor team sports.

Henry said between 10 and 15 per cent of all new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks have been linked to sports and recreation.

Restrictions for group fitness activities were also updated.