There has been a record 911 new cases of COVID-19 in BC since yesterday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said today.
This brings BC’s cumulative total to 30,884. There were 11 new deaths announced today, bringing BC’s total to 395. In just the last two weeks, there have been 105 new deaths.
“The vast majority of these people (who died in the last 24 hours) were people in their 70s and 80s—our seniors, our elders, grandparents, spouses, family members,” said Henry. “Most of the cases today were also people who were living in longterm care, and we know how challenging that has been this last year.”
Of today’s new cases, 153 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 649 are in the Fraser Health region, 27 in the Island Health region, 47 in the Interior Health region and 35 in the Northern Health region.
There are 301 people in hospital, 69 of whom are in critical care. Across the province, 10,430 people are being monitored by public health.
While virus-related hospitalizations continue to rise in BC, Health Minister Adrian Dix said the acute care sector continues to have adequate capacity and staffing. Hospital occupancy is at 71.5 per cent, with critical care occupancy at 55.6 per cent.
Henry announced three new healthcare outbreaks and declared one existing outbreak over. There remain 59 total outbreaks in the healthcare system, 54 in longterm care or assisted living facilities and five in acute care facilities. The healthcare outbreaks affect 1,162 people in total, including 718 residents and 434 staff members.
Henry said until recently, health officials have included testing of all people in the province together in the testing statistics. But there has been increasing separation in the positivity percentages between MSP funded tests—which test people with symptoms in an attempt to find cases—and non-MSP funded tests, which are often for travel, sport or other industries that test mostly people with no symptoms.
“As our cases and our surge has increased in BC, we’ve seen an increase in the difference of percent positive between these two groups,” she said.
These two testing numbers will now be reported separately in BC’s weekly situation report, in order to more accurately reflect community transmission across the province.
In response to some questions about why certain activities have been stopped, Henry said community transmission has been much higher than in previous months.
“This means that things that were safe, using the guidelines we had developed over the last 10 months, are no longer in that safe zone,” she said. “Now we are facing a storm surge, and that is something that we are facing globally.”
During the lead-up to the holiday season, Henry has a request of people planning to shop.
“If you do plan on shopping, remember to keep your COVID safety plans in mind—and that means keeping your distance, wearing your mask, washing your hands, keeping your numbers small and keeping local,” she said. “Support local businesses who need our support, whether that’s shopping online and picking up, booking ahead or going at a time when it’s not so busy. Support the businesses in your community.”
For a list of community exposure events, click here.
For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and testing, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.
Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel