Another 2 COVID-19 deaths as B.C.'s caseload continues to surge
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's COVID-19 caseload continued to surge over the weekend, with at least 20 new infections identified daily since Friday.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said 62 people have caught the novel coronavirus since their last update, bringing the total number of people infected in the province since the start of the pandemic to 3,115.
Another two people were also killed by the virus, pushing B.C.'s death toll to 189. Both were residents of the Vancouver Coastal Health region that spans from Richmond up past Whistler.
"We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic," Henry and Dix said in a joint statement Monday.
There have now been five days in a row in which B.C. has recorded 20 or more new cases, as public health officials continue responding to a number of exposure events that took place in Kelowna this month and last, particularly at private Canada Day parties.
The average over the preceding 10 days was about 11 cases per day.
The newly identified infections were partially offset by the 39 people who have recovered from COVID-19 since Friday, but the province's active caseload has still increased to 208. Just two weeks ago, the caseload reached 153, which is the lowest it's been since March.
"Now is the time to pay attention to how we are feeling and what we are doing, to keep ourselves and those around us safe," Henry and Dix said.
"Until a vaccine or effective treatment is available, our focus is to keep new cases low and slow. And to do this, all of us need to do our part, to show kindness and patience with those around us and take precautions to protect each other."
Fortunately, the number of hospitalizations and patients in intensive care - metrics that are considered the most important when measuring the severity of the crisis in B.C. - remained relatively static. Hospitalizations dropped to 14 from 16 on Friday, and the number of people in ICU remained at five.
The exposure events in Kelowna took place in the city's downtown and waterfront areas between June 25 and July 9, where eight coronavirus-positive people went out on the town. Six were from the Lower Mainland.
Health officials have said anyone who was at the Discovery Bay Resort from July 1 to 5 or the Boyce Gryo Beach Lodge on July 1 must self-isolate. People who visited the Cactus Club on Water Street from July 3 to 6 or the Pace Spin Studio on July 2, 4, 5, 7 or 9 are to monitor for symptoms.
"While the provincial health officer’s order is for no more than 50 people at any gathering, fewer faces and bigger spaces is our guide to move forward. This is important to remember when attending private parties, which tend to be indoors, gathering people from a variety of places," Henry and Dix said.
"Spending an extended period of time, even an evening together with a number of people in an enclosed space, increases the likelihood that you will be exposed to someone with COVID-19."
Further south in Oliver, health officials are also responding to two test-positive cases of COVID-19 at the Krazy Cherry Fruit Co. farm. Public health teams "have placed restrictions on those living and working on the farm to limit the potential for further transmission," Henry and Dix said.
There have been no additional outbreaks at health-care facilities, however. There remain three such outbreaks in the province, including the deadly outbreak at the Holy Family Hospital long-term care facility in Vancouver.around us and take precautions to protect each other."
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.