B.C. health officials announce 5 more deaths from COVID-19, 52 more cases
VICTORIA -- Five more people have died of COVID-19 in British Columbia, bringing the province's death toll from the novel coronavirus to 86 people.
Health officials revealed the new deaths on Monday, and announced that 52 more cases of the virus have been diagnosed since Saturday, bringing the provincial total to 1,699 confirmed cases.
The new cases are comprised of 29 new cases found between Saturday and Sunday, and 23 new cases found between Sunday and Monday. Three of the deaths occurred Saturday and the other two on Sunday.
There have been 102 COVID-19 cases in the Island Health region, 705 cases in the Fraser Health region and 700 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. There have also been 153 cases diagnosed in the Interior and 39 in the Northern Health region.
There are currently 104 people in hospital with the virus, 49 of them in acute care.
A total of 1,039 people have fully recovered from the virus.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said seven of the newly discovered cases originated at the Kearl Lake oilsands facility near Fort McMurray, Alta.
"There has been transmission to people who have come back to B.C. associated with the Kearl Lake project," Henry said.
The provincial health officer ordered those returning to B.C. from the facility to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning on the day they return to the province.
Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix pleaded with all British Columbians to continue to maintain physical distance from one another and limit trips to public places.
"We have averted a major crisis in our province and it's because people have done what we've asked them to do," Henry said.
Health officials also noted that a prior outbreak at the Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver has now been resolved with no new cases detected.
The provincial health officer said she has met with the City of Victoria and Island Health's chief medical officer about Victoria's homelessness problem in light of the pandemic.
She acknowledged that physical distancing measures have been difficult among the homeless population and said an improved housing strategy is coming in a matter of days.
"Our overdose crisis has been… compounded by the restrictions we have put in place during the pandemic," Henry said.
The City of Victoria has repeatedly called on the province to move the city's homeless into hotels and motels to end the outdoor encampments that have intensified with the closure of shelters and the economic downturn due to COVID-19.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.