B.C. continues to break records on COVID-19 case counts and active cases, with 425 new cases announced on Thursday and a total of 3,389 active cases throughout the province. Another 7,519 people are under active public health monitoring due to exposure to confirmed cases.
Of the new cases, most were reported in the Lower Mainland, with 268 in the hard-hit Fraser Health region and 126 in Vancouver Coastal Health. There were 18 new cases in the Interior Health region, according to a Thursday afternoon report by Interior Health. The region has 104 active cases with one person in hospital.
The number of those in hospitals continues to slowly creep upwards, now at 97, with 24 of those in critical care.
No new deaths were announced Thursday. The province's death toll stands at 273.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said 11,020 tests were conducted to find the 425 new cases, putting the province's test positivity rate at 3.8 per cent.
As a result of the new cases, Henry voiced her concern and urged people to limit their social contacts to their immediate household or "safe six" at the most.
Many of the new cases are related to social gatherings. Health Minister Adrian Dix reiterated Henry's message.
"When it comes to house parties and gatherings, the message is simple. Don't throw them. Don't go to them. When it comes to house parties, we should all just say no," Dix said.
Dix warned "the tide is rising" with COVID-19, and said even if the situation here in B.C. is not as bad as elsewhere, it remains important for everyone to do their part.
"Most jurisdictions, the other jurisdictions that are equivalent that are dealing with significant outbreaks of COVID-19 in their provinces, are higher than we are," Dix said.
Dix used France as an example, which he said is seeing a per capita daily new case rate 10 times higher than B.C.
"But I don't think people care too much what it is in Paris, or what it is in Dublin or what it is in Toronto. We care about what happens here in British Columbia. This is our effort, and we all have to do our part to turn the tide on COVID-19," Dix said.
Henry said the high number of new cases is also having a ripple effect, affecting long-term care homes and putting seniors at risk.
"Our individual actions are incredibly important right now," she said.
Two new outbreaks were announced on Thursday, both at care homes in the Fraser Health region.
To date, 12,806 of B.C.'s 16,560 cases have recovered.