B.C. records 85 new COVID-19 cases, largest single-day increase since April
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. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
VICTORIA -- Health officials have identified 85 more cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia over the last 24 hours, the largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases the province has seen since April 25.
Another person has also died from the virus, health officials said in a statement Wednesday. The death is the first COVID-19 death in B.C. in the last 11 days, and the provincial death toll now stands at 196.
"We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic," said B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in the statement.
There are currently 531 active cases of the coronavirus in the province, including eight people who are hospitalized, five of whom are in intensive care.
Two of the new cases are epidemiologically linked, and there have been a total of 4,196 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began. A total of 3,469 people who tested positive for the virus in the province have since recovered.
The 85 newly announced cases represent the third-highest single-day increase seen in B.C. since the start of the pandemic, Henry and Dix said.
"The majority of these cases are young people in the Lower Mainland and their exposures have been at events in the community," they said. "The cases we are seeing today reflect exposures from a week to 10 days ago. A significant number of cases are also linked to travel from out of province."
The update comes on the same day the province announced it would be hiring 500 additional people to conduct contact tracing, and Dix and Henry referenced that announcement in their statement.
“We need to refocus on measures to flatten the curve of infection and protect British Columbians as we help our province recover," the pair said.
"One of the most effective ways to keep people safe is through contact tracing, which starts with each person who has tested positive for COVID-19 understanding who their contacts may be to provide appropriate follow up and stop further transmission."
There have been no new outbreaks of the virus in the last day, either in health care settings or in the community, Henry and Dix said.
Public health teams are currently responding to seven outbreaks at long-term care and assisted living facilities, and one at an acute care facility.
The vast majority of B.C.'s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been located in the Lower Mainland, with 2,203 in the Fraser Health region and 1,273 in Vancouver Coastal Health.
Elsewhere, there have been 394 cases in Interior Health, 150 in Island Health, 104 in Northern Health and 72 among people who reside outside of Canada.
"We are watching the cases climb, which is concerning," Dix and Henry said. "We need everyone to recommit to using the skills we’ve learned. Keep gatherings small, have a designated ‘contact keeper,’ limit time with others, maintain physical distance and always stay home if you’re feeling unwell."
"We must all keep working together to protect people’s health, homes and livelihoods, and to get our province back on track."