B.C. tops 5,000 cases of COVID-19, sets new record for daily infections
VANCOUVER -- Health officials in British Columbia identified another 269 cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, pushing the province's combined total well past the 5,000 mark.
Monday's briefing from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry – her first back after taking a short vacation – also broke B.C.'s previous record for cases identified in a single day, and marked the first time the province's active caseload topped 900.
But despite the continuing surge in cases, worsened by a wave of recent outbreaks and infection clusters, Henry noted the province still has a low rate of "undetected transmission," a mercy credited to the tireless work of contact-tracing teams.
"We are able to find and connect most people who have this disease, but we want to keep it that way – we need to keep it that way," she said.
"We all need to do our part to protect those people we know are more vulnerable to having severe illness or dying from COVID-19, and in particular that's our seniors, our elders and people in our communities who have compromised immune systems."
Officials also revealed B.C.'s number of coronavirus hospitalizations has increased to 18, up five from their last update on Friday. The number of people in intensive care and critical care units remains at five.
Hospitalizations are considered one of the most important measures of the severity of the pandemic in B.C., and remain fairly low, though they have inched up since mid-month.
Monday's update covered three reporting periods, with the first, from Friday to Saturday, setting a record with 109 new cases. That was followed by 81 more from Saturday to Sunday and 79 from Sunday to Monday. Altogether, they bring the number of infections identified locally since the start of the pandemic to 5,184.
Another 179 people recovered from the disease over the same period, pushing B.C.'s total number of infections to 4,068.
Henry also announced one more COVID-19 fatality, pushing B.C.'s death toll to 203. The latest victim was in the Fraser Health region that spans from Burnaby to Hope.
"We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic," Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement.
That leaves 913 active cases, which is almost 200 more than health officials dealt with at the height of the province's first case surge back in April.
Officials said there are also 2,594 people under "active public health monitoring" after being exposed to confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Public health teams have identified one more health care facility outbreak, in MSA Manor in the Fraser Health region. There remain eight other active outbreaks in long-term care homes and assisted living facilities, as well as one in an acute care facility.
Henry and Dix had no new community outbreaks to announce on Monday, however, and said the outbreak at Fraser Valley Packers Inc. has been declared over.
Officials said they're watching "key indicators" of how British Columbia is handling the pandemic, including community spread and the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests.
"Right now we are staying within the range of where we need to be, although it is always fraught," Henry said, adding that it's up to everyone to keep us safe.
"Our B.C. COVID-19 response is about all of us doing our part and taking the right precautions based on our circumstances."