British Columbia

Intensive care hospitalizations rising as B.C. confirms 122 new cases of COVID-19

The number of people in intensive care due to COVID-19 continued to increase Wednesday as health officials announced 122 new cases. 

23 people in intensive care, an increase of 3 from the day before — and 10 more than a week ago

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry repeated her call Wednesday for people to keep their social bubbles limited to six people. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

The number of people in intensive care due to COVID-19 continued to increase Wednesday as health officials announced 122 new cases. 

Twenty-three people are now in ICU, up from 20 patients the previous day, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement. 

At the same time last week, 13 people were in intensive care. 

Hospitalizations dipped to 60, three less than Tuesday, but intensive care units gained three more patients.

B.C. now has a record-high 1,614 active cases of people infected with COVID-19. The death toll remains unchanged at 219.

Henry and Dix repeated their call for people to keep their social bubbles limited to a consistent six people. 

"Large gatherings have been a steady source of transmission," they wrote. 

"However, many of the new cases we are seeing in the past weeks are from small gatherings where people see different groups of friends on different days — inadvertently spreading the virus to many people." 

Public health is monitoring 2,966 people, while 5,646 people have now recovered.

Henry and Dix said there are no new health-care facility outbreaks. Outbreaks persist at 11 long-term care homes and assisted-living facilities and three acute-care facilities.

Regional health authorities have also started launching websites to track COVID-19 cases in schools. Fraser Health launched its online portal Wednesday, with exposure information from 11 school districts. 

Other health authorities are expected to follow, with links posted to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website, according to the province.

Dr. Henry also issued a new public health order Wednesday, authorizing nurses to prescribe safe alternatives to toxic street drugs.

The order comes amid a spike in overdose deaths in B.C. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

B.C. recorded 911 overdose deaths between January and July of 2020. Over that same period of time, 195 people died of COVID-19.

"This new order is about connecting more people to treatment and doing all we can to save lives by supporting people who use drugs to do so safely," Henry and Dix said.

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