British Columbia

Officials ask for caution over long weekend as B.C. confirms 121 new cases of COVID-19, 1 new death

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 121 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 new death on Friday. They are urging people to practice COVID-19 protocols during the long weekend and Canucks game celebrations.

Another assisted-living facility outbreak listed at KinVillage in Delta

Provincial Health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, left, and Health Minister Adrian Dix issued a joint statement Friday regarding the novel coronavirus and confirmed 121 new cases with 31 people currently hospitalized with the virus. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 121 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death Friday afternoon and urged people to maintain a balance between fun and caution this long weekend.

There have been a total of 6,162 cases of COVID-19 and 211 deaths across the province since the beginning of the pandemic.

Health officials say there has been one new assisted-living facility outbreak at KinVillage in the Fraser Health Region, but no new community outbreaks.

They are warning people to stay safe in small groups as they enjoy outdoor activities and the Canucks game on Friday night.

"COVID-19 continues to affect our province and this long weekend is no different. Whether you're celebrating the Canucks game tonight or meeting friends for a barbecue or camping, let's make it a safe, small-group long weekend," read the statement.

Rising number of infections in young people

New modelling presented on Thursday showed that a spike in infections in younger people has driven down the median age of those who contracted COVID-19 to 41 years of age. The number of hospitalizations and deaths are lower than April and May because younger people are now contracting the virus.

The curve of overall infections is trending upward with a record one-day number of 124 infections announced by health officials on Aug. 28. This Friday's number is just shy of that record.

Last week, Henry said B.C.'s caseload is higher than it was when the province began shutting down public services and businesses in March, but said health officials now know more about the virus, including how to prevent transmission. 

The province said there are 31 people in hospital with the virus and 12 of them are in intensive care. Others infected with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

There are 1,233 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and 2,792 people are being monitored by public health due to an exposure to known cases.  

So far, 4,706 people who tested positive have recovered, according to health officials.

The Fraser Health Region has the highest number of total cases at 3,201 followed by the Vancouver Coastal Health Region with 2,077 cases.

The Interior Health Region has 451 cases, Island Health Region has 180 and the Northern Health Region, 174 cases.  Seventy-nine cases involve people who live outside of Canada.

Back to school worries

Teachers and parents are raising concerns over health and safety amid the pandemic as the first day of school approaches on Sept. 10.

Students are expected to be inside classrooms despite a significant increase in the number of new cases of COVID-19 across the province in recent weeks.

On Thursday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry suggested a one-metre distance between people is acceptable in controlled environments such as classrooms and workplace pods at a time when the B.C. Teachers' Federation has been pushing for smaller class sizes.

Health officials are advising people to be cautious this long weekend and into the fall, keeping their distance from people outside their families and immediate bubbles, to prevent more COVID-19 infections.

"To be successful in this next phase, we need to step back to safely move forward. So let's all make choices that will keep our communities, our Elders, our loved-ones and ourselves safe," said the statement.

 Spend more time outside to help protect those who may be more vulnerable to the virus, it added.