B.C. recorded two more deaths and 499 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 72 hours as the province can be considered to be in the midst of a second wave, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Monday (Oct. 19).
Both deaths occurred in the Lower Mainland and, in total, people 253 people in B.C. have died from COVID-19 to date.
There were 172 test-positive cases between Friday and Saturday, 153 from Saturday to Sunday and 174 from Sunday to Monday, for a three-day total of 499.
Since the pandemic began, there have been 11,687 total cases, of which 9,753 people have recovered. There are 1,639 active cases of COVID-19 across B.C., with 67 people in hospital, including 19 in critical care.
Across B.C., there have been 6,244 cases of COVID-19 in Fraser Health since the pandemic began, 4,146 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 611 in Interior Health (21 new cases since Friday), 355 in Northern Health and 243 in Island Health. Another 88 cases involve people who live outside the country, down from 89 reported previously due to a data correction.
Across IH there are 36 active cases of COVID-19 with two people in hospital, including one in critcal care.
In September, there were 22 cases of COVID-19 recorded in the Kamloops area specifically, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control — up from seven new cases in the area recorded in August. Year to date, there have been 82 cases of COVID-19 recorded in Kamloops.
Over the weekend, there were four new COVID-19 outbreaks in health-care facilities, bringing the total number of current outbreaks to 19 — 17 in long-term care homes and two in hospital acute-care wards. None are located in Interior Health. Two outbreaks are now considered over.
In total, there have been 932 cases of COVID-19 in care homes to date — 536 among residents and 396 involving staff.
There was one new community outbreak recorded in Fraser Health, at J&L Beef Ltd.
Henry said B.C. is in the midst of its second wave of COVID-19, but added it can be controlled, noting there has not been exponential growth.
“This virus has not gone away and it has shown us that it is quite able to hide and spread in communities around the province,” she said.
Asked what more can be done to combat COVID-19 in B.C., which is seeing record daily case counts, Henry said people must remain vigilant with pandemic protocols and get tested when need be. She added that businesses must stick to their COVID-19 safety plans.
Addressing social media concerns over a lack of clarity reporting on cases in schools, Henry said all exposure events are being reported and all people who may have been in contact with a case are being notified.
“We know that sometimes there are exposures in schools, but we have not seen widespread outbreaks and that tells us that things are working in our schools,” she said.
Henry said B.C.’s provincial health orders have been focused on reducing social interactions that have the potential to spread COVID-19 to large groups of people, which is why nightclubs and banquet halls were shut down, restaurants and pubs were given new, earlier last call orders and gathering limits remain capped at 50 people.
She said with those measures in place, there has not been widespread transmission, which is why other businesses have not had to be restricted further.
Henry said B.C. is seeing a variety of ways COVID-19 is spread, but noted most of the current cases have come via small transmission chains within groups, which have been limited due to the 50-person limit on gatherings.