In rare weekend update, B.C. health officials confirm another 567 COVID-19 cases
VANCOUVER -- Another 567 new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the province, B.C.'s top health officials announced Saturday.
The announcement was made during a rare weekend COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix. The pair have not provided regular weekend updates since May, when the province entered the second phase of its pandemic response.
"This is another challenging day here in B.C.," Henry said. "As you know, in the last two weeks we have seen dangerously high and rapid increase of COVID-19 cases and outbreaks."
The latest number is not a record in B.C. – the highest ever single-day caseload was announced Friday, when Henry announced 589 – but it's only the second time that daily total has surpassed 500.
This week saw several records broken in B.C., including on Thursday, when the daily total passed 400 for the first time.
The sudden spike prompted new COVID-19 orders for parts of the province seeing the majority of cases.
Henry announced Saturday restrictions on social gathering and travel, among other things, that apply only to those in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions.
Henry said the province has seen "many episodes of transmission" in people's homes recently.
"We've also had transmission in health-care facilities across the Lower Mainland. The result is that we're seeing a steady increase and worrisome increase of people with serious illness requiring hospitalization and intensive care."
She said the latest outbreak is at The Residence in Mission, bringing the total of active outbreaks in the health-care system to 37, the majority of which are in long-term care.
The latest coronavirus case numbers bring the provincial total since the start of the pandemic to 17,716.
She said 122 of Saturday's 567 new cases are in Vancouver Coastal Health, while only three are in Island Health, 22 are in Interior Health and nine are in Northern.
The vast majority – about 72 per cent – of cases recorded in the last 24 hours are in Fraser Health.
Henry said there are more than 100 people in hospital and 31 in critical care. Dix said one person has died, bringing the pandemic death toll in B.C. to 276.
The update comes the day after B.C. shattered its case-count record for a single day. On Friday, health officials announced 589 new COVID-19 infections. The previous single-day record was 425.
Few details were given about the unusually scheduled news conference ahead of time, but Dix posted to Twitter Friday that businesses and sectors are only ordered to close if they are "unable to operate safely."
"When faced with the gathering storm clouds of increased exposures and transmission in a particular sector, we step up inspections to identify gaps and, at times, increase the safety measures that are required," his tweet said.