Health officials in B.C. have announced 89 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province, as well as one new death from the coronavirus.
There have now been more than 6,000 cases of the virus identified in B.C. since the pandemic began, and 210 deaths.
There are currently 1,175 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C., including 34 people who are in hospital, 11 of whom are in intensive care. The active case total is the highest it's ever been, and the 34 people in hospital is the highest recorded since May.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provided the new numbers in a live briefing on the virus Thursday afternoon. At the same news conference, they also revealed the latest modelling data about the spread of COVID-19 in B.C.
The provincial health officer said modelling suggests British Columbians have been making between 65 and 70 per cent of the number of interpersonal connections they had been making before the pandemic began. That's a number that corresponds to continued growth in the number of cases of the coronavirus in the province, but a reduction to 50 per cent of normal connections would get B.C.'s cases trending back downward, according to the modelling data.
"We still have it in our hands, in our actions, to bend our curve back down," Henry said. "What we do need to do is pause those activities that we know are high-risk for all of us."
The pair also announced two new outbreaks at health-care facilities. One, at Cherington Place long-term care facility in Surrey, was reported earlier in the day by Fraser Health officials. A staff member at that facility has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Henry also announced a new outbreak at Point Grey Private Hospital in Vancouver, where a single person has tested positive for the virus. The provincial health officer did not say whether it was a staff member or a resident who tested positive.
An outbreak at Maple Ridge Seniors Village in Maple Ridge is now considered over, Henry said.
There are now a total of nine active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted-living homes in B.C., as well as two outbreaks in acute-care facilities.
There have been no new community outbreaks, but public exposure events continue to occur, Henry said. She added that the province's recent surge in cases, many of which have been traced to private parties attended by young people, doesn't have to continue, as long as people are responsible in their social interactions.
"It is important, it's part of us enjoying society and each other and the joy that we have in life, to have social connections, but right now, in this pandemic, we have to do it in a different way," Henry said. "We have to keep that group small. The same group. It's the mixing with people we don't know that we know is risky, because we are then subjected to the people they've been in contact with and that risk goes up really quickly."
In Wednesday's update, which was delivered through a written statement, health officials revealed an additional 104 cases of the disease.
As of that update, there were 1,127 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, including 33 people in hospital, which was the highest total B.C. has seen since May. Fourteen people were in intensive care with COVID-19.
By Thursday, there were 6,041 total cases of COVID-19 in B.C., and health officials were monitoring 2,801 people who are known to have come in contact with a confirmed case of the coronavirus.
A total of 4,644 people who have previously had the virus are now considered recovered, Henry said Thursday.
Since the pandemic began, the vast majority of B.C.'s cases have been located in the Lower Mainland. That includes 3,155 cases in the Fraser Health region and 2,012 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health.
Elsewhere in the province, there have been 450 cases of COVID-19 in the Interior Health region, 178 in Island Health and 167 in Northern Health.
There have also been 79 people who were identified as having COVID-19 in B.C. but reside outside Canada.
This is a developing news story and will be updated.