British Columbia

Hospitalizations continue to rise as B.C. confirms 97 new cases of COVID-19 but no new deaths

The number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 rose to its highest level in four months Tuesday, as the province announced 97 new cases.

63 patients are now in hospital sick from the disease

A nurse treats a patient inside the COVID-19 critical care unit at Vancouver General Hospital in this file photo. (Vancouver Coastal Health)

The number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 rose to its highest level in four months Tuesday, as the province announced 97 new cases.

Sixty-three patients are currently being treated in hospital for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, including 20 people who are in intensive care, Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Tuesday in a written statement.

That's 22 more people in hospital than a week ago — the highest number of hospitalized patients since May 12. There are now 1,590 cases of active COVID-19 infection in B.C., out of 7,376 cases confirmed to date.

A total of 3,001 people are being monitored after being exposed to known cases.

No new deaths have been recorded, leaving the total number of deaths at 219. 

A new outbreak has been identified at Opal by Element, a retirement facility in Vancouver. The facility is among 11 long-term care or assisted living facilities currently facing COVID-19 outbreaks, along with three acute care facilities experiencing outbreaks as well.

A new outbreak has been identified at OPAL by Element, a retirement facility in Vancouver. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The B.C. government has also extended its provincial state of emergency for the 14th time, allowing an additional two weeks for the government to use "extraordinary powers" to manage the pandemic, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General said in a statement Tuesday.

The province is reminding British Columbians to continue to monitor themselves for symptoms and stay home when sick to prevent transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Anyone with symptoms is asked to contact 811 to arrange for testing.

"Now is the time for all of us to take a step back so we can move forward safely," Henry and Dix said in a joint statement.

"To do this, we need to do our part to break the chains of transmission in B.C."

Cases steadily rising

Along with the hospitalization rate, recent weeks have seen a steady rise in the number of new COVID-19 cases across the province.

The latest numbers follow a grim update on Monday that included six deaths from COVID-19 recorded over the weekend.

Also on Monday, a coalition of First Nations filed a petition with B.C.'s privacy commissioner calling for an order forcing the Ministry of Health to release data on confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases near their communities.

The Heiltsuk Nation, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and Tŝilhqot'in National Government say it's the data they need to protect themselves, conduct culturally safe contact tracing and "reduce the risk of racist interactions with the health-care system."

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