B.C. adds 5 deaths, 549 new COVID-19 cases over long weekend
VICTORIA -- Health officials in British Columbia identified more than 500 additional cases of COVID-19 in the province over the Thanksgiving long weekend.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 549 new cases of the virus, including 10 new cases on Vancouver Island, in a live news conference Tuesday.
Five more people died of the virus over the weekend, including two in the Fraser Health region and three in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. British Columbia's COVID-19 death toll now stands at 250.
None of those who died over the weekend were in long-term care facilities, Henry said.
The largest number of new cases identified over the weekend were found Saturday, when 170 new cases were discovered. On Sunday, 159 new cases were found, while 119 new cases were identified Monday and 101 were found Tuesday.
The new cases include five epidemiologically linked cases, meaning a COVID-19 test was not administered. There have been 10,734 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. since the pandemic began.
There are currently 1,476 active cases of the virus in B.C., with 77 people in hospital, including 24 patients in intensive care.
Another 3,618 people are under public health monitoring after exposure to the virus.
Henry announced four new outbreaks of the virus in B.C. health-care facilities, while two other outbreaks have been declared over.
There are currently 20 active outbreaks in B.C. health-care centres. There were no new community outbreaks reported over the weekend though public exposures continue to occur.
"The numbers are higher than what we would like to see and on average are higher than what we were seeing in the past week," Henry said. "But it is important to look at them in context."
The provincial health officer said increased testing and a backlog of cases that have now been cleared are partially responsible for the higher numbers.
"While clearing the backlog meant an increase in the overall number of confirmed cases, the active cases and the per cent that are positive remain stable," she said.
Henry said less than two per cent of all COVID-19 tests in B.C. yield a COVID-positive result.
"This is where we want to be," Henry said. "We want to be picking up those cases in the community and doing contact tracing on every single one."
The provincial health officer said officials have seen a rise in COVID-19 cases linked to recreational sports as programs like youth hockey have restarted.
"The result has been that some sports facilities needed to close or to shut down for some time," Henry said. "If you are playing in a sports league, pick one league, don't pick multiple leagues. If your children are involved in activities after school, pare it down so they're not exposed to large numbers of different people on different days."
Most of B.C.'s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been located in the Lower Mainland, including 5,595 confirmed cases in the Fraser Health region and 3,892 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health.
Elsewhere in B.C., there have been 582 cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health, 341 in Northern Health and 235 in Island Health.
The province has also recorded 89 cases among people who reside outside of Canada.
Approximately 8,974 people who contracted the virus are now considered recovered in B.C., according to Henry.