Provincial health officials have announced 50 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, the largest single-day total since April.
The uptick comes on the cusp of a B.C. Day long weekend Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has framed as a key litmus test for how the virus will behave in coming weeks.
“What you do today and this weekend determines how we manage in the weeks and months ahead,” she said Thursday.
Health minister Adrian Dix likened the B.C. Day weekend to a war against the virus, suggesting B.C. could also stand for “Battle COVID.”
“It should also stand for break the chain. It should also stand for bend the curve,” he said.
Today, in a press release, the Dr. Henry urged British Columbians to continue to “keep our firewall strong” as people prepare to travel around the province or staycation closer to home.
The province also launched a “Good Times Guide” Friday to help people “Spread fun - not COVID-19.” With parties leading to several community exposure events over the last month, the guide cautions, “Don’t pass around drinks, smokes, tokes, and vapes” and “always designate a ‘contact keeper’ to keep track of who you’re with...”
A recent BC Hydro survey found 70% of respondents plan to either staycation or travel within B.C.’s borders this long-weekend.
But the virus continues to spread beyond house parties, bars and restaurants.
In addition to the ongoing exposures at a blueberry-packing plant in Abbotsford, the community exposures on Haida Gwaii prompted the province to restrict all non-essential travel to the archipelago Thursday afternoon.
On Friday, Fraser Health announced one new outbreak at the long-term care facility Dania Home in Burnaby. One staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, and the health authority said the infected person worked in one contained unit and is now in self-isolation at home.
The home is now under enhanced control measures, which include such protocols as limited movement and twice a day screening of all staff and residents.
There are now two long-term care facilities and two acute care facilities with ongoing outbreaks.
Across the province, there are now 278 active cases of COVID-19, with five hospitalized and two in intensive care.