First update in 4 days: 549 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., 5 deaths
VANCOUVER -- There have been 549 cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia since the last update four days ago.
Speaking at a news conference in Victoria Tuesday, the provincial health officer said 170 of those cases were recorded between Friday and Saturday.
Another 159 were confirmed between Saturday and Sunday, while there were 119 between Sunday and Monday, Dr. Bonnie Henry said.
In the last 24-hour period, between Monday afternoon and Tuesday's live update, there were 101.
Five of the cases reported over the weekend are epidemiologically linked, meaning in patients who have not had a positive laboratory test, but who have had close contact with a confirmed case and have experienced certain symptoms following exposure.
Henry said five people have died since Friday's update.
Few details have been provided about those people, other than that two were living within the Fraser Health region, and three were in the Vancouver Coastal Health area.
With the latest update, the province's death toll has climbed to 250.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 10,734 cases confirmed in the province.
The majority of those cases have been in the Vancouver Coastal (3,892) and Fraser (5,595) health regions.
Another 235 cases have been in the Vancouver Island Health region, 582 in the Interior and 341 up north.
Henry said 89 of the cases have been in people who normally live outside of Canada.
Of the cases reported in British Columbia, 1,476 of those are considered active as of Tuesday, but only 77 people are being treated in hospital. Two dozen patients are in intensive or critical care.
Henry said another 3,618 people are currently being monitored by public health officials.
In the latest update, Henry said 8,974 people are now considered recovered – or about 84 per cent of the total confirmed cases.
Long weekend spike in cases?
The numbers released Tuesday may look alarming to those who've been following daily case updates throughout the pandemic, hoping for news of a flatter curve.
"The numbers are higher than what we would like to see, and on average are higher than what we were seeing in the past week," Henry said.
One of the factors behind the 500-plus case count was what the doctor described as a backlog in testing, which was cleared over the weekend.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control and partner labs "processed essentially an extra day's worth of tests, 6,000 tests" over the weekend, she said.
"While clearing the backlog meant an increase in the overall number of confirmed cases, the active cases and the per cent that are positive remain stable."
New health-care outbreaks
Henry addressed four new outbreaks reported in health-care facilities in recent days.
Two – at the PICS Assisted Living Facility in Surrey and the Chartwell Carrington House Retirement Residence in Mission – were already announced by Fraser Health earlier in the day.
Additionally, Henry confirmed outbreaks at Yaletown House, a long-term care home, and at the Weinberg Residence, an assisted-living facility. Both are in Vancouver.
The Evergreen Hamlets and Cherington Place outbreaks have been declared over, meaning B.C. is now dealing with 20 active outbreaks in the health-care system.
Henry said 919 people have been affected in long-term care, 533 of whom are residents.