Province reports 1,130 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths over two-day period

Dr. Bonnie Henry says even with a vaccine on the horizon, British Columbians must act now to help break the chains of transmission

B.C. health officials have reported another 1,130 cases of COVID-19 and four further deaths due to the disease.

Thursday's update from the province covers two periods, from Nov. 10 to Nov. 11 (536 cases) and from Nov. 11 to Nov. 12 (594 cases). There were 12,442 tests done to discover the new cases.

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The vast majority of the new cases are in the Fraser Health region (808) and Vancouver Coastal Health region (245), while the Interior Health region added 34 new cases.

The province now has 5,793 active cases and 11,091 people under active public health monitoring due to exposure to confirmed cases.

There are now 155 people in hospital, with 44 of those in critical care.

Health-care facility outbreaks continue to plague the province, now with 41 active outbreaks, including 35 in long-term care and six in acute care units, such as the latest at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

In all, B.C. has now seen 20,368 cases and 288 deaths since the pandemic began.

How things have changed

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also provided an update looking at how cases are emerging in B.C.

Henry said early in the pandemic, long-term care homes were driving cases. In the summer, that changed, as young people contracted and spread the virus before that spreading waned with cooler weather.

Now, transmission is occurring primarily due to social gatherings, and at a higher rate due to the more favourable environments wherein the virus can spread.

Henry said now the spill-over into long-term care homes has resumed, with a "dramatic increase" in cases of those age 80 and older.

School cases

Henry said less than 10 per cent of all cases are school-aged children, and noted that nine in 10 B.C. schools have not seen an exposure event and there has been only one outbreak.

Data provided by the province shows that most exposure events have been in elementary schools (139) and secondary schools (85) out of the 261 total school exposures as of Nov. 5.

Vaccine hopes

Henry said COVID-19 is "not forever," but also that British Columbians must do what they need to in order to break the chains of transmission.

She pointed to positive news about a new vaccine announced this week, and said planning is ongoing to distribute a vaccine once it is acquired.

"As vaccine becomes available, we will be able to protect those who are most at risk, and that will allow us to do more. And then eventually, we will have vaccine that is available for everybody. That is going to happen next year," Henry said.

"But for us to get from here to there, we need to, all of us, take a deep breath, recognize that we can do this, that we're all going to be supporting each other, that we have been through this and we know more now than we did in the spring. We know what we need to do. We know it works. And now is the time for us to do it."

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