British Columbia

B.C. sets another grim record with 617 new cases of COVID-19 and 167 patients in hospital

Friday was yet another record-breaking day in B.C.'s second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 617 new confirmed cases of the disease of 167 patients in hospital.

2 more people have died, bringing death toll to 290

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is pictured at a news conference in Victoria on Sept. 22. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

Friday was yet another record-breaking day in B.C.'s second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 617 new confirmed cases of the disease of 167 patients in hospital. Both of those numbers are the highest seen to date.

Two more people have died and there are now 5,579 active cases of COVID-19 across the province, according to a written statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Of the patients who are being treated in hospital, 50 are in intensive care. The last few days have seen a major spike in the province's hospitalization rate; the total number of patients has risen by 60 per cent compared to just one week ago.

"We need to act now to protect our loved ones, our elders and our communities," Henry and Dix said. "This weekend, we encourage everyone to have a safe start to Diwali celebrations by staying home, limiting your travel and connecting virtually instead."

To date, B.C. has confirmed 20,985 cases of COVID-19 and 290 people have died. There are currently 12,016 people under active monitoring by public health workers because of exposure to people with known cases of the disease.

The influx of new cases continues to be intensely focused in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions. The majority of B.C. cases are currently being transmitted through social interactions in private settings, such as private wedding receptions or funeral services. 

Of the cases announced Friday, 69 per cent were in the Fraser Health region and 21 per cent were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

There have been three new health-care outbreaks at Sun Pointe Village in Kelowna, Capilano Care Centre in West Vancouver and Fraserview Intermediate Care Lodge in Richmond, while another four have been declared over, leaving 35 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living and six in acute care facilities.

Surge in cases stretches contact tracers 'to the max'

"When faced with a resurgence of COVID-19, it can be difficult to muster the strength to keep moving forward, yet British Columbians continue to show unwavering resilience and fortitude to support friends and neighbours in our communities and take care of those who are most at risk, by following the orders and using our layers of protection," Dix and Henry said.

"Now is the time for everyone, right across our province, to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 — to be leaders by working together with a common purpose to push our curve back down."

The latest epidemiological modelling presented Thursday showed COVID-19 cases in B.C. have been doubling every 13 days, making it harder for public health to keep up and break the chain of transmission. Henry said Thursday that contact tracers are "stretched to the max" and falling behind. 

The modelling showed schools have not been a major hotspot for transmission. Nine out of 10 schools haven't had any exposures at all since school resumed in September, and only one has had a recorded outbreak.

Sweeping new restrictions for the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser health regions are still in effect, focusing on social gatherings, non-essential travel, indoor group exercise and behaviour at work. The orders, which Henry described as a regional "circuit break," will remain in effect until noon on Nov. 23. By then, public health officials will have a better understanding of whether people living in Metro Vancouver can return to some social interactions.


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