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2 more deaths from COVID-19 in B.C. as health officials announce new outbreak
VICTORIA -- Two more residents of long-term care homes have died from COVID-19 in British Columbia, bringing the province's death toll from the coronavirus to 164.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the two deaths - as well as a new outbreak at another long-term care home in the Fraser Health region - at their briefing on the virus Thursday.
They also announced nine new confirmed cases of the virus in the province, which they said bring the total number of cases identified since the pandemic began to 2,558.
On Wednesday, the total number of cases was reported as 2,550. Health officials said Thursday that this discrepancy was due to "a small data correction," adding that an additional case reported Wednesday in the Vancouver Coastal Health region had been removed.
The new health-care outbreak occurred at Nicola Lodge in the Fraser Health region. Henry said a single person had tested positive for the virus at the facility, which is located in Port Coquitlam.
While Henry did not say whether the person who tested positive was a resident of the care home or a staff member, a news release from Fraser Health indicates that it was a resident. That person is now in isolation, and an outbreak "SWAT team" has been dispatched to the facility, the health authority said.
In all, there are 16 active outbreaks at long-term care and assisted-living facilities in the province, as well as one ongoing outbreak in a hospital acute-care unit, Henry said.
Outbreaks at seniors' care homes have been one of the biggest challenges of British Columbia's pandemic response. Dix said 93 of the 164 people who have died from the coronavirus in B.C. have been residents of such facilities, with 67 of them living in just four homes where outbreaks have occurred.
"When this virus gets into long-term care, residents can get sick very, very quickly, and they may have very few symptoms," Henry said. "So, it's very challenging to control it."
On a more positive note, the provincial health officer said there have been no new "community outbreaks" in the last 24 hours. Moreover, Henry said, the outbreak at Mission Institution medium security federal prison - one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks recorded in B.C. to date - has now been declared over.
Henry said it took "an incredible effort" to end the outbreak at the prison, which has now gone two virus incubation periods without any new cases.
There are 241 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C., including 33 people who are in hospital, six of whom are in intensive care.
Health officials said Thursday that 2,153 people who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C. are now considered fully recovered.