BC records deadliest day during COVID-19 pandemic

·3 min read

BC has seen record-breaking deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, with 13 reported today by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“I think it’s fair to say what we have been saying—and it’s true of everyone who’s passed away during these times—that this is a difficult time to grieve and a difficult time sometimes to understand the nature of this pandemic, the nature of this virus, its impact especially on the most vulnerable people in our society, and so our hearts really go out to the families, to the friends, to the caregivers of all those who’ve passed away,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.

There are 57 active outbreaks in the healthcare sector. Fifty-two of these are in longterm care or assisted living facilities and five are in acute care facilities. The healthcare outbreaks currently account for 1,036 active cases, including 634 residents and 385 staff. Fortunately, no new healthcare outbreaks were added today and one was declared over.

Henry announced 738 new cases today, four of which are epidemiologically linked. BC’s cumulative case total is now 29,086. Of the new cases, 169 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 443 in the Fraser Health region, 21 in the Island Health region, 70 in the Interior Health region and 35 in the Northern Health region.

A case correction affected the numbers reported in Fraser Health region last week, Henry said. The incorrect case numbers were due to a technical error in the transfer of data between labs and the health authority between Nov. 16 and 24. New data brings yesterday’s record-breaking case count down to 706, but it also brings the previous four days’ case counts up, increasing last weekend’s three-day total from 1,933 to 2,220.

There are now 7,816 active cases and 294 people in hospital, 61 of whom are in critical care. The number of people being monitored by public health is similar to yesterday’s number, sitting at 10,270.

Henry also spoke to the rapid testing program, saying BC has received a number of rapid tests but there are limits to how these can be used. They are currently only licensed for use in people who are symptomatic, and are not able to pick up the virus as effectively as the regular test that goes to a lab for analysis.

“As we know, there’s a light in our future, on the horizon, as we hear more and more positive news about vaccines,” said Henry. “This will be a large and complex undertaking.”

Dix reported that BC’s hospital capacity is at 72.3 per cent, with critical care at 56 per cent capacity. Dix also said 935 contact tracers have now been hired, with 222 hired in the last week.

After reporting that BC’s contact tracing capacity was struggling last week, Henry said today that “we’re on the edge for sure.” She added that most cases, particularly outside the Fraser Health region, are definitely linked, but sometimes these are not found in time before they are passed on to others. BC remains committed to its contact tracing approach.

When it comes to social events, which health authorities have repeatedly said are the cause of much spread of the virus, Dix had a new catchphrase: “When in doubt, rule it out.”

For a list of community exposure events, click here.

For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and testing, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.

Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel