B.C. adds 155 COVID-19 cases, 1 death in final update of the week
Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company's lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020.
VICTORIA -- British Columbia has added 155 more COVID-19 cases and one more death to its total in the last 24 hours, health officials said Friday.
There are now 1,513 active cases of the coronavirus in the province, including 72 people who are hospitalized, 26 of whom are in intensive care.
The update marks the 15th consecutive day on which B.C.'s case total has grown by more than 100, and the first time the province's active caseload has surpassed 1,500 since Sept. 21.
Since the pandemic began, there have been 11,189 cases of COVID-19 recorded in B.C. and 251 deaths.
Friday's update from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and deputy minister of health Stephen Brown came in the form of a written statement. The pair offered their condolences to everyone who has lost loved ones during the pandemic.
The health officials also announced a new community outbreak at the Tim Hortons in Merritt, but they didn't provide any details on how many people had tested positive.
There have been no additional outbreaks in health-care facilities over the last day, and the outbreak at KinVillage in Delta has been declared over, Henry and Brown said. There are currently 15 long-term care and assisted-living facilities with ongoing outbreaks, as well as two outbreaks in acute-care facilities.
Nine of the 155 new cases announced Friday are considered epidemiologically linked, meaning the person who had the virus was never tested, but is a close contact of a known case and developed symptoms.
As of Friday, there are 3,713 people under "active public health monitoring" as a result of exposure to confirmed cases of COVID-19.
With the provincial election just over a week away, Henry and Brown used their statement to reassure voters that Elections BC has COVID-19 safety plans in place for all of its polling places.
“If you are planning on voting in person, remember to give others the space to stay safe when going to vote, wash your hands before and after voting, and consider using a mask if distancing is a challenge," the pair said.
They added that voters who are feeling unwell or self-isolating because of COVID-19 can still cast their ballots without going to a voting place. Voters in those situations can call Elections BC at 800-661-8683 for information or assistance, Henry and Brown said.
Most of B.C.'s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been located in the Lower Mainland, with 5,884 recorded in the Fraser Health region and 4,036 in Vancouver Coastal Health.
Elsewhere in B.C., there have been 590 confirmed cases in Interior Health, 350 in Northern Health and 240 in Island Health. There have also been 89 cases of COVID-19 recorded in B.C. among people who reside outside Canada.
A total of 9,387 people who have had the coronavirus in B.C. are now considered recovered.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.