British Columbia’s records for daily COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations were broken Friday in the last pandemic update of the week from health officials.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced another 617 infections, topping the previous high of 589 that was just set on Thursday.
The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 also climbed to a record of 167, which includes 50 patients in intensive care.
Two more people have also died from the disease, bringing the provincial death toll to 290.
“When faced with a resurgence of COVID-19, it can be difficult to muster the strength to keep moving forward,” Henry and Dix said in a joint written statement. “Yet British Columbians continue to show unwavering resilience and fortitude to support friends and neighbours in our communities and take care of those who are most at risk, by following the orders and using our layers of protection.”
A total of 20,985 COVID-19 infections have now been identified across B.C. since the start of the pandemic.
The province’s active cases, which hit a record 5,793 on Thursday, dropped to 5,579 after more than 800 people recovered from COVID-19. Another 12,016 people are under active public health monitoring after being exposed to a known case.
Officials also declared another five outbreaks in health-care facilities, at Sun Pointe Village, Capilano Care Centre, Fraserview Intermediate Care Lodge, Dr. Al Hogg Pavilion and Platinum Athletic Club.
Six others at Queens Park Hospital, Lakeview Care Centre, Yaletown House, St. Michael’s Centre, Rosemary Heights Seniors Village and Surrey Memorial Hospital have ended, leaving 41 active outbreaks in long-term care homes, assisted living facilities and acute care facilities.
Fraser Health announced another community outbreak as well, at Platinum Athletic Club in Surrey. The health authority said 42 people who “recently worked at or attended” the fitness centre have tested positive so far.
The business voluntarily closed on Saturday, when Henry issued her latest health order on recreational facilities.
Friday’s COVID-19 update came one day after health officials shared alarming new modelling that indicated the number of daily cases in B.C. has been doubling every 13 days.
Without any changes to people’s behaviour, that would put the province on track to hit more than 1,000 cases per day by the end of the month. B.C. has seen an average of 548 cases per day over the last seven days.
But there are hopes that Henry’s latest public health order, which was announced last weekend during a rare Saturday briefing, could help bring the province’s numbers down.
Officials urged people in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions to follow the temporary restrictions on socializing, which for most people means only seeing people from within their own household.
That includes the many families who will be celebrating Diwali, the Indian festival of lights that begins on Saturday.
“As yesterdays modelling update clearly showed, this is a critical time for everyone in our province. We need to act now to protect our loved ones, our Elders and our communities,” Henry and Dix said. “Now is the time for everyone, right across our province, to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 – to be leaders by working together with a common purpose to push our curve back down.”
Health officials have not scheduled another briefing for this weekend.