B.C. adds 299 cases of COVID-19 as active caseload tops 3,000
A health care worker is pictured working at Vancouver's first drive through COVID-19 testing site for health care workers in Vancouver, B.C. Monday, March 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
VANCOUVER -- Health officials announced another 299 cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia on Tuesday, pushing the province's active caseload past 3,000 for the first time in the pandemic.
Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson and Health Minister Adrian Dix also announced three more COVID-19 fatalities, putting the province's death toll at 272.
"We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic," they said in a joint written statement.
The latest infections put B.C.'s active case count at a record high of 3,017. That number includes 92 people hospitalized with the disease, 22 of whom are in intensive care.
A total of 15,800 cases have been identified in the province so far.
Gustafson and Dix also repeated the message officials have been hammering for weeks: that much of the recent surge in cases is a direct result of people socializing.
"That is why it is so important to keep our groups small," they said. "Keeping our communities well means keeping them safe. It is about ensuring we have capacity within our health-care system, protecting those who are most vulnerable and continuing what's important to our well-being in safe, responsible ways."
Health officials also once again called on people living in the Fraser Health region, which spans from Burnaby to Boston Bar, to avoid hosting people at home altogether.
The request goes well beyond the latest order from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry limiting B.C. residents to hosting six guests from outside their household bubble, but the region is currently the hardest hit across the province.
Officials announced one new outbreak in the health care system, at the Belvedere Care Centre in Coquitlam. There are now 29 active outbreaks in long-term care homes, assisted living facilities and acute care facilities.
Public health teams are also battling a new community outbreak at the Capella Dance Academy in Chilliwack.
"Our goal for the COVID-19 pandemic is to continue to minimize severe illness, death and social disruption in our communities. The more we learn about the virus, the better we are able to manage all three of these important objectives," Gustafson and Dix said.
"As part of this, we all need to understand the risks in our local communities and adjust our activities if that risk increases."