Nearly 2,000 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 72 hours in B.C., while nine died from the virus.
From Friday to Monday, the province recored about 650 cases per day for a three-count total of 1,959. Of those, 87 cases are in Interior Health.
Elsewhere in the province, Fraser Health continues to record the bulk of new infections, with 1,361 over the weekend. Vancouver Coastal Health recorded 455 cases, Vancouver Island had 41 cases and Northern Health recorded 14 cases. One person who resides outside Canada contracted COVID-19 in B.C.
Of the nine deceased, all were elderly, most of whom resided in long-term care or were in hospital with underlying health issues, according to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.
Six of the deceased resided in Fraser Health, two were from Vancouver Coastal and one was located in Northern Health. To date, 299 people in B.C. have died due to COVID-19, while 16,087 people have recovered.
There are 6,279 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, with 181 people in hospital — 57 of whom are in critical care. There are 10,928 people under active public health monitoring for the virus.
Since the pandemic began, 22,944 people have contracted COVID-19 in B.C.
In Interior Health alone, there have been a total of 1,088 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began and 204 are currently active. There are two people in hospital, including one in intensive care.
In the past three days, there have been 11 new health-care outbreaks around the province, including three in Interior Health — one at The Hamlets care home in Westsyde — with the rest occurring in Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health.
Henry said the second wave of COVID-19 has proven challenging and the virus is not stopping. She said people need to continue to adhere to public health measures such as wearing masks, physical distancing and regular hand washing.
She said there needs to be a return to the same mindset of shrinking social bubbles, as there was in the spring. Henry said people need to refrain from social gatherings and non-essential travel to other parts of the province. She said the bulk of virus transmission is occurring in private homes and group workplace and fitness settings.
Asked about a reluctance to return to a lockdown situation, Henry said much has been learned since the spring when schools, restaurants and personal service businesses were shut down. She said it is clear those places can operate safely when COVID-19 safety plans are followed, but such protective measures are not in place in residential settings.
“In our own homes, we don’t have plexiglass barriers, we don’t keep our physical distancing,” she said.
Henry noted businesses must have COVID-19 protection plans to operate, which should include mask use — a reason the top doc said she hasn’t implemented a mask mandate in B.C.
“Wearing masks is now, more than ever, an important measure that we individually need to take,” Henry said, noting the onus is on businesses to provide masks.
Asked about the idea of staggering the Christmas break in schools this year, Henry said the province is looking into it and considering all its options. Asked why there are no temperature checks in place at schools for students, she said high temperatures have not been a common symptom with children, but stressed the importance of self-assessments for symptoms — fevers being one of them.