Dr. Henry says B.C.'s surge in COVID-19 cases 'not unexpected'
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's recent surge in COVID-19 cases was "not unexpected," health officials said Tuesday while announcing just 13 more infections.
The latest briefing from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix ended a stretch of five days in which the province recorded between 20 and 25 new cases per day.
That was a significant jump over the daily average of 11 cases that was recorded over the preceding 10 days.
"It was distressing to me," Henry said. "It's way above my comfort zone."
But the provincial health officer also noted the increase, which came following several separate COVID-19 exposures in Kelowna, particularly around Canada Day, was an anticipated consequence of the province's gradual reopening.
"With every increase in our activity, the potential for COVID-19 transmission increases as well," she said.
"We are getting out more, we're being more active and we are unfortunately transmitting this disease. But we're also monitoring closely and public health teams are actively working to mange every single case and make sure we find all of those close contacts who are at risk."
British Columbia has passed the first incubation period since Canada Day, and since moving into Phase 3 of its restart plan. That means it's important for people to be extra aware of potential COVID-19 symptoms if they emerge.
"There may be other people out there right now who were at parties at Canada Day, who had been in contact with somebody who had this disease over the past couple weeks, and you may have mild symptoms," Henry said. "If you have any concerns at all, you can be tested anywhere in B.C. and that's important right now. We need to continue to minimize our cases, manage them effectively with public health teams, and modify our activities as we need to do to make sure that we can continue to safely get out and about and open up."
Officials did not have any additional virus fatalities to report on Tuesday, leaving the death toll at 189.
The latest update brings the total number of COVID-19 cases identified in B.C. since the start of the pandemic to 3,128. Another 12 people have also recovered from the virus since Monday, for a total of 2,730 recoveries in the province, leaving 209 active recoveries.
There remain 14 people in hospital, including five in critical care or intensive care units.
Officials did not have any new outbreaks to report in the community or health care facilities, but are still working to contain active outbreaks at two long-term care homes and one acute care facilities, and dealing with an outbreak at the Krazy Cherry Fruit Co. farm in Oliver.
Henry said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has reviewed processes at the farm and found them to be safe, stressing that "food is not a source of COVID-19, for the most part."
"We are confident there is no risk from cherries that have been processed at the Krazy Cherry farm," she said. "I will remind people that we don't have any evidence of transmission from packaging or food, but that we should always wash things carefully and wash our hands."
Watch an American Sign Language translation of the news conference on the provincial government's YouTube page.