B.C. sets new COVID-19 record for 2nd straight day as province announces 589 new cases and 2 more deaths

·3 min read
Ben Nelms/CBC
Ben Nelms/CBC

B.C. health officials announced a record number of COVID-19 cases for the second straight day Friday, as the province confirmed 589 new cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, along with two additional deaths.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said there are 3,741 active cases of people infected with the disease in B.C.

A total of 104 patients are in hospital, 26 more than last Friday, with 28 in intensive care.

With today's deaths, the provincial death toll stands at 275.

Public health is actively monitoring 7,887 people across the province, who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure.

The Fraser Health region continues to account for the majority of new infections. On Friday, there were 402 new cases there compared to the Vancouver Coastal Health region, which recorded 146.

On Thursday, what was then a record high 425 new cases of COVID-19 were announced, with more than 60 per cent of them located in the Fraser Health region.

Safety review please, province says to businesses

In Friday's statement, the province said it is asking businesses, in the Lower Mainland in particular, to review safety practices to avoid closures by health officials.

It said keeping businesses open was important and that the vast majority were doing the right things to keep employees and customers safe from infection.

But it also advised public health teams continue to look out for those not complying.

"When faced with the gathering storm clouds of increased exposures and transmission in a particular sector, we step up inspections to identify gaps and, at times, increase the safety measures that are required," it said.

The province said it would only order a business to close if it was "clearly demonstrated" that it could not operate safely.

"We have one COVID-19 curve in B.C., and we all have a role to play to get through this storm and push our curve back down."

New outbreaks

There have been six new health-care facility outbreaks at Suncreek Village, Fort Langley Seniors Community, Northcrest Care Centre, Fellburn Care Centre – PATH unit, Ridge Meadows Hospital and Langley Memorial Hospital.

The province said the outbreak at Fair Haven Homes Burnaby Lodge has been declared over.

In total, 31 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and four acute-care facilities have active outbreaks.

There has been one new community outbreak at the Royal Inland Hospital construction site.

In a tweet, Dix said that there had been 10,591 COVID-19 tests performed in the province in the past 24 hours.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control said on its website where it tracks infections that the seven-day average of positive tests for the province was 4.9 per cent.

In September, Henry said that a test positive rate above five per cent would indicate community transmission that would be concerning.

Health officials are reminding B.C. residents of the importance of limiting indoor gatherings in homes to household members and the "safe six" people in their bubble.

Henry also advised people Thursday against taking indoor spin classes.

She said they are too risky for anyone living in Metro Vancouver because the classes often have lots of people inside sweating and breathing hard and loud music that makes it necessary for instructors to shout.

She defined the classes as an opportune place for the virus to spread.

Henry along with Dix announced late Friday they would hold an additional media briefing on Saturday at 1 p.m.