34 additional cases of COVID-19 in B.C. as recent surge continues
Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, provide an update on COVID-19: June 30, 2020 (Province of BC / Flickr)
VICTORIA -- British Columbia health officials have announced 34 additional cases of COVID-19 as the recent surge in cases in the province continues.
The new cases bring the total identified in B.C. since the coronavirus pandemic began to 3,362, said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in their update on the virus Wednesday.
Three of the newly announced cases were epidemiologically linked cases, meaning there have been 31 new positive tests in the last 24 hours.
There are 285 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C., including 17 people who are in hospital with the virus, three of whom are in critical care.
There have been no new deaths in the last day, leaving B.C.'s death toll at 189.
Henry said Wednesday that there are now more than 70 cases of COVID-19 related to recent public exposures in Kelowna, which have caused challenges for health officials working to trace people's contacts.
The provincial health officer said new cases discovered in recent weeks have had a higher average number of close contacts than was previously the case, a worrying trend that has contributed to a change in the trajectory of B.C.'s infection curve.
"Contact-tracing three or four people is much easier and faster than trying to reach 20 or 30 people for every case that has come up, and that is the situation that we have found ourselves in in the last few weeks," Henry said.
She said there are now "close to 1,000" people - including individuals in every provincial health authority - who are self-isolating as a direct result of the exposure events in Kelowna.
"We need to go back to safe social interactions," she said. "If you're going out for dinner, don't ask the servers to accommodate more than six people. No table-hopping … No trying to work around it by sitting separately and moving between tables and gathering. That just puts others at risk."
In response to recent developments, Henry announced that she would be modifying public health orders related to bars and clubs to make it easier for the owners of such businesses to enforce the rules.
"All patrons must now be seated at a designated seat, there's no liquor self-service or dance floors, and measures need to be in place to reduce lineups and gatherings at pressure points," Henry said.
The majority of B.C.'s cases of COVID-19 have been located in the Lower Mainland, with 1,049 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 1,742 in the Fraser Health region.
That said, the recent spike in cases has largely occurred in the Interior Health region, according to health officials. There have now been 304 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health, and Dix praised the response to the virus in that health authority on Wednesday.
"Over the last week, there has been a very significant mobilization of response in Interior Health," the health minister said.
Elsewhere in the province, there have been 141 confirmed cases in Island Health, 69 cases in Northern Health and 57 cases among people who live outside Canada.
There have been no additional outbreaks of COVID-19 in health-care facilities in B.C., Henry said Wednesday, meaning there is just one ongoing outbreak in a long-term care home and two at hospital acute-care units.
A total of 2,888 people who have had COVID-19 in B.C. are now considered fully recovered.