B.C. reports 85 new COVID-19 cases – most in more than 15 weeks

More people are actively fighting COVID-19 infections in B.C. than at any time since May 9

The steady rise in new COVID-19 cases in B.C. so far this month hit a new high on August 12 with 85 cases identified in the past 24 hours. That is more than in any other 24-hour period since April 25, when 95 new cases were identified.

There are now 531 active infections in the province, which is more than at any time since May 9.

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The good news is that the uptick in new cases has not significantly increased the number of people in hospital or in intensive care units (ICU). There remain eight people in hospital and five people in ICU, with the remainder in self-isolation.

"The pandemic is an unprecedented challenge for our province, and today we are reporting the third highest number of new cases we have seen in a day since the pandemic began," provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement.

"The majority of these cases are young people in the Lower Mainland and their exposures have been at events in the community. The cases we are seeing today reflect exposures from a week to 10 days ago. A significant number of cases are also linked to travel from out of province."

B.C. has also recorded its first death of the month from the virus that has caused a global pandemic. That makes the death toll from the disease 196.

The breakdown of the province's 4,196 COVID-19 infections by health region is:
• 1,273 in Vancouver Coastal Health (up 41);
• 2,203 in Fraser Health (up 36);
• 150 in Island Health (up two);
• 394 in Interior Health (up one);
• 104 in Northern Health (up four); and
• 72 people who reside outside Canada (up one).

There are now 3,469 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus and recovered, up 25 from yesterday.

"There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks in the region," Henry and Dix said. "In total, seven long-term care or assisted-living facilities and one acute-care facility have active outbreaks."

The seven seniors' homes that have active outbreaks are:
•Holy Family Hospital in Vancouver;
•Richmond Lions Manor in Richmond;
•Dania Home in Burnaby;
•Maple Ridge Seniors Village in Maple Ridge;
•Derby Manor in Burnaby;
•George Derby Centre in Burnaby; and
•New Vista Care Home in Burnaby.

The acute care outbreak is at Joseph and Rosalie Segal Health Family Health Centre.

"There are no new community outbreaks. However, there continue to be community exposure events everywhere in the province and on flights into and out of B.C," said Dix and Henry.

They added that one of the most effective ways to keep people safe is through contact tracing, which starts with each person who has tested positive for COVID-19 understanding who their contacts may be to provide appropriate follow up and stop further transmission.

To that end, the provincial government is hiring approximately 500 new health professionals to bolster its contact tracing capacity. Washing hands regularly, keeping two metres from other people and wearing masks are other ways to stay safe.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom 

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