British Columbia

3 more die from COVID-19 in B.C. as 139 new cases confirmed

COVID-19 has claimed three more lives, as health officials confirmed another 139 cases of the disease on Friday.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says new cases are a 'direct result of how we spent our Labour Day long weekend'

The surge of new COVID-19 cases continues in B.C., with three more deaths and 139 new cases announced Friday. (Vancouver Coastal Health)

COVID-19 has claimed three more lives, as health officials confirmed another 139 cases of the disease on Friday.

There is now a record high 1,803 active cases of infection across B.C., according to a written statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix. A total of 59 people are in hospital, including 20 in intensive care.

"The cases we are seeing today are a direct result of how we spent our Labour Day long weekend. Let's break the chain of transmission and turn this trend around," Henry and Dix said.

"No one intends to pass the virus onto friends or family, but it is very easy to do. It can take up to two weeks for symptoms of COVID-19 to develop and in that time, we can inadvertently spread it to others."

In addition to Friday's case numbers, the province announced another 40 historic cases involving people who tested positive in the Vancouver Coastal Health region between Aug. 11 and Sept. 16 but did not have personal health numbers and were not entered into the data system.

That brings the total number of confirmed cases to date to 7,842, including 223 people who have died.

There are now 3,075 people who are being monitored by public health workers because of exposure to known cases, 10 active outbreaks in long-term care and five in acute-care units of hospitals.

"We need to push the COVID-19 curve back down and we have the knowledge, the tools and resources to do just that. Always using your layers of protection and choosing to stick with your 'safe six' will help all of us this weekend and every weekend ahead," Henry and Dix said.

The province will not provide updates on COVID-19 numbers over the weekend. The next scheduled briefing is Monday, Sept. 21 at 3 p.m. PT.

Stick to 6

Henry has repeatedly appealed to members of the public to stick to gatherings with six or fewer people and to keep those groups of six consistent. She has also ordered nightclubs closed and banned service of alcohol after 10 p.m., calling them necessary to slow transmission of the disease.

Ontario is now restricting the number of people in any outdoor gathering to 25 in some regions, but Henry has said there are no plans to do that in B.C., where the limit will remain at 50.

This week, Henry also announced a new mouth rinse gargle and spit test for students from kindergarten to Grade 12 to help make it easier for children and teenagers to check whether they have COVID-19.

She said the new test, the first of its kind in the world, was developed in B.C. and will reduce the province's dependency on the global supply chain for lab testing. 

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