More bleak records set in B.C. with 11 more deaths and 717 new cases of COVID-19

·2 min read

B.C. health officials announced 717 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 11 more deaths, setting several sombre new records for the pandemic.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said there are 6,589 active cases of people infected with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus in B.C. With the latest deaths, the provincial death toll stands at 310.

There are currently 198 people in hospital, with 63 in intensive care.

Tuesday's numbers mark the highest single-day totals for new cases and deaths, the greatest number of people in hospital and the heaviest active caseload to date.

Henry and Dix, who are not scheduled to provide another live briefing on the pandemic before Thursday, once again urged everyone to do their part to slow this second wave of COVID-19.

"We need everyone working together to stay small, stay local and help us slow the spread of COVID-19 in our province," they said in the written statement.

"Just as we put on our jackets to keep us warm in the rain and snow, so too are our COVID-19 safety layers there to protect all of us. Washing your hands, keeping a safe distance and always wearing a mask in places where you are around people you don't know — these things make a difference."

Public health is now actively monitoring 10,960 people across the province, who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure.

The majority of the new cases announced Tuesday continue to be in the Lower Mainland, with 484 or 68 per cent in the Fraser Health region and 177 or 25 per cent in the area covered by Vancouver Coastal Health.

But Henry and Dix say the second wave is starting to spread.

"We have seen an increase in new cases on Vancouver Island, in the Interior and in the North, many of which are connected to travel to and from the Lower Mainland. That is why is it important that we stay local and travel less right now," they said.

"When we spend time inside with people from outside of our household, our work group or school cohort, the risks increase for everyone. Instead, let's stay connected virtually and make it a safer winter for all of us."

Jurisdictions across Canada are seeing major spikes in COVID-19 cases, but there have been some glimmers of hope in recent weeks, with news of two promising vaccine candidates. Earlier Tuesday, Canada's deputy chief public health officer said most Canadians could be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus by the end of next year.