British Columbia

COVID-19 claims 16 more lives, as B.C. announces 656 new cases

B.C. health officials announced 656 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 16 more deaths.

336 people in hospital, with 76 in intensive care

A masked man reads his mobile phone while walking along Georgia Street in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

B.C. health officials announced 656 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 16 more deaths.

According to a written statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, there are now 8,796 active cases of infection from the novel coronavirus.

There are currently 336 people in hospital, 138 more than two weeks ago, with 76 in intensive care. 

Henry and Dix said everyone, without exception, needs to follow public health orders and stop all social gatherings and community events in order to slow transmission of COVID-19.

"It is a time for all of us to pause, to think about the many people throughout our province, our nation and the world who have been impacted by COVID-19 and other global epidemics. It is also a time to think about what we can do to make a difference," they said.

"Let's be resilient in face of this surge. United and together, let's make an impact today through our own personal actions."

With the latest deaths, the provincial death toll stands at 457. To date, 33,894 people have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C.

A total of 10,123 are currently in isolation and under monitoring by public health workers because of exposure to the virus.

The provincial update includes one new outbreak in long-term care at The Harrison at Elim Village in Surrey.

2 new outbreaks in Vancouver Island hospitals

Late Tuesday, Island Health declared two outbreaks at hospitals on Vancouver Island. 

Five patients and a staff member have confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Saanich Peninsula Hospital, where visitors are now being limited.

One staff member and one patient at West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni have tested positive for COVID-19, but health officials say the outbreak is confined to one unit and the rest of the hospital is operating as usual.

Also on Tuesday, Northern Health revealed that 52 employees at the LNG Canada worksite in Kitimat have now tested positive for the virus in connection with an outbreak there. Of those, eight cases are still considered active.

The health authority has also issued a warning about a potential exposure to the virus at The Key Resource Centre and the Cold Weather Shelter in Fort St. James between Nov. 12 and 25. Anyone who visited either facility on those dates has been asked to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19.

On Monday, Henry addressed the news that at least three churches in Langley and Chilliwack have held in-person services over the last two weeks, defying an order prohibiting all community and social gatherings.

She said that most faith leaders have been supportive of public health measures, despite the "high-profile people who are trying to create some consternation" around the rules.

"Faith is not a building," Henry said Monday. "It is not about Sunday mornings, it is about every day. It's not about rights, it's about community."

The current limitations on gatherings are in place until Dec. 7, 2020 at midnight.

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