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'Pandemic is far from over': B.C. announces 36 new COVID-19 cases
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides an update on COVID-19 on May 26, 2020: (Government of B.C. / Flickr)
VICTORIA -- Health officials have discovered 36 new cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia since Friday, but there have been no additional deaths associated with the coronavirus.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the findings Monday afternoon, which included 14 new cases found on Saturday, 16 new cases on Sunday and six on Monday.
There have been 2,745 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. since the pandemic began.
There remain 182 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Thirteen people remain in hospital with the virus, four of them in critical or intensive care.
Four outbreaks continue in B.C. long-term care homes. A total of 535 residents and 220 health-care staff have been infected since the beginning of the outbreak.
A total of 2,395 people in the province are now considered fully recovered from the virus.
Most of B.C.'s COVID-19 cases have been located in the Lower Mainland, with 1,420 cases in the Fraser Health Region and 934 in Vancouver Coastal Health.
Elsewhere in the province, there have been 195 cases of COVID-19 in the Interior Health region, 130 in the Island Health region and 65 cases in Northern Health.
Vancouver Island has not had an active case of COVID-19 since the first week of June.
The provincial health officer cautioned that while life is starting to return to normal in B.C., the province is not out of the woods yet and won't be for some time.
"In many parts of our province where we have not had new cases in some time it may feel like almost back to normal," Henry said.
"This pandemic is far from over. There continues to be no effective treatment and the virus will continue in our communities for many months to come."
Henry stressed that provincial health guidelines around washing hands, staying home when sick and avoiding large gatherings will remain in place "for many months to come."
She reminded travellers to adhere to local visitors' guidelines and to bring their own supplies to avoid burdening small, rural communities.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said B.C. must remain "humble and vigilant" in the face of the pandemic as neighbouring Alberta and the U.S. West Coast see spikes in new cases.
"These circumstances are around us and it's not because people aren’t striving to do well in those jurisdictions. COVID-19 is a difficult adversary," said Dix.
Responding to a question about reopening nightclubs, Henry said health officials recently discovered that singing can transmit the coronavirus rapidly.
"We know that singing – singing in a group – can be a very dangerous thing for this group and we've seen that in a number of places around the world," the provincial health officer said.
"Singing groups in churches, even with physical distancing, have led to transmission of cases."
Henry also addressed recent anti-racism protests, saying small groups of demonstrators wearing masks are preferable from a public health standpoint to large, tightly packed groups of people not wearing masks.