COVID-19 cases spike in B.C., as province announces 71 new cases, 3 more dead
VICTORIA -- Cases of COVID-19 spiked in British Columbia on Wednesday, as health officials announced dozens of new infections and three more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 71 new test-positive cases of the virus in the past day, fueled in part by three new outbreaks in long-term care facilities in the Lower Mainland.
Three people in long-term care homes have died of the virus since Tuesday, bringing the death toll in B.C. to 90 and the total number of cases to 1,795.
Wednesday's new cases represent the largest single-day jump in B.C. since March 28, when health officials announced 92 new cases.
"We have more work to do to break the chains of transmission in our communities," Henry said, throwing cold water on thoughts of reducing restrictions on travel and social interactions anytime soon.
"We can't afford to have any weaknesses in our firewall if we are going to move ahead," Henry added.
"To ease restrictions we need to have a decline both in the number of new cases and in the number of outbreaks."
The province had previously recorded four straight days with fewer than 30 new cases of the virus detected in each 24-hour period. B.C. hadn't recorded more than 50 new cases of the virus in a single day since April 3, when 53 cases were discovered.
It wasn't all bad news on Wednesday, however. B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the number of COVID-19 patients in critical and acute care in hospitals is dropping, and three previous care-home outbreaks have now been declared over.
"We have 103 cases [in hospital], which is I believe the lowest number we’ve had in the month of April, down from a high of 149," Dix said. "And in critical care, 46 [cases], which is also the lowest amount we’ve had in April, shows the continuing effort made by the community, I think, to break the links of transmission of COVID-19, which is something we have to continue to commit to.”
To date, there have been 745 COVID-19 cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health area, 747 cases in the Fraser Health area, and 153 cases in the B.C. Interior.
Elsewhere in the province, the Vancouver Island region has had 110 confirmed cases, up from 109 cases on Tuesday. There have been 40 confirmed cases of the virus in the province's Northern Health region.
Throughout the province, 103 people remain in hospital with the virus, 46 of them in critical care.
A total of 1,079 people are now considered fully recovered from the virus.
"Until we clear this hurdle, we can't begin to make changes," Henry said. "We need to stay home if we're not feeling well – with no exceptions right now."
An outbreak at the Mission Institution prison in the Fraser Valley is ongoing, with one new case announced Wednesday. Henry said there are now 77 cases of COVID-19 at the prison, with five inmates in hospital.