B.C. reports nearly 1,000 COVID-19 cases, five new deaths over two days
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia recorded nearly 1,000 new COVID-19 cases and five more deaths over the course of two days, health officials announced Monday.
The update from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix pushed the total number of cases identified in B.C. to 18,714. The death toll now sits at 281.
"As always, it pains us to know people have succumbed to COVID-19," Henry said.
Officials said 536 cases were identified from Saturday to Sunday, and 462 were identified from Sunday to Monday.
The latest infections pushed the province's active caseload to 4,891, setting yet another record.
The number of hospitalizations has also increased sharply to 133, up from 78 at the beginning of November. Of the patients currently in hospital, 43 are in critical care or intensive care units.
The troubling numbers were announced two days after Henry unveiled her latest public health order, which puts strict but temporary restrictions on social gatherings in the Lower Mainland.
Addressing some confusion around the new rules, Henry recommended people living in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions get back into the mindset they had in March and April.
"I am directing now that we need to think about the things we did in the spring – socialize virtually, check in on those that you're close to, plan parties and celebrations for next year when it is safe for us to get together again," she said. "We've seen this before. We need to start going back to that."
Unlike in the spring, however, officials said the vast majority of businesses "can and should" remain open.
Going out to restaurants is still allowed, but only with one's "core bubble," which generally refers to other members of a person's household. Henry's order insists that people only interact socially with that bubble until the afternoon of Nov. 23.
There are exceptions for people who live alone, and whose bubble may then include "a partner, relative, friend or co-parent" who lives somewhere else, according to the province.
The wording of Henry's order has also now been posted online, providing more answers for people who have been struggling to understand how best to comply since the restrictions were announced on Saturday.
By following with the rules, Henry said B.C. can ensure crucial services such as schools and surgeries can continue unabated throughout the pandemic. The impact of the shutdown won't be fully felt until later this month, however, given COVID-19's incubation period of up to two weeks.
"What we need to do now is to break those chains of transmission," Henry said. "We will start seeing those numbers come down, reflecting that we are no longer exposing large numbers of people."
As of Monday, officials said there were 9,179 people under active public health monitoring, and 13,425 of the province's total cases had recovered.