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COVID-19 outbreak at Maple Ridge health care facility, 146 new cases since Friday

Last Updated Aug 4, 2020 at 5:55 pm PDT

FILE - Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (Courtesy B.C. Government)

Provincial health officials announced a new outbreak at the Maple Ridge Seniors Village

B.C. recorded 146 new infections, no new deaths over a four-day period

B.C.'s state of emergency was extended another two weeks

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — An outbreak of COVID-19 at a health care facility in Maple Ridge was announced by the province Tuesday, along with 146 new cases and no deaths over a four-day period.

Provincial health officials said one staff member at the Maple Ridge Seniors Village tested positive for the virus while the outbreak at Mission Memorial Hospital has been declared over. There are now three active outbreaks at health care facilities.

More cases have also been linked to the outbreak at Fraser Valley Packers in Abbotsford, which is now up to 74 infections. Twenty-four cases are connected to the Haida Gwaii outbreak.

The number of people who died because of COVID-19 remains at 195.

There are now 3,787 confirmed cases in B.C., and 3,273 people have recovered so far.

B.C.’s state of emergency was extended another two weeks.

More cases ‘not unexpected’

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the new cases over the long weekend aren’t a surprise.

“This was not unexpected. We knew that events that had happened in the previous couple of weeks would lead to more people who had been exposed developing illness. We are now seeing people who were exposed up to two weeks ago.”

But she notes many of the cases happened before the long weekend, which is concerning. And while Henry said the sources of the infections varied, she stressed the importance of public health officials tracking down the source of every infection — and they have been able to for the majority of cases.

“Many continue to be related to private gatherings or small parties that happened over the last month. Many are with travel within B.C., and Canada, and some are people who have travelled here from outside of Canada. We also have had a number of exposures and workplaces where people have passed it amongst work colleagues.”

RELATED: Canada’s top doctor reminding Canadians COVID-19 doesn’t take a long weekend off

She explained common factors in these instances are how people interact in close contact with each other.

“That includes talking, laughing, joking around sharing drinks, sharing food, crowds, so larger combinations of people where we were having those close interactions with many people over a period of time. Often indoors and the indoor settings we know are areas that are more at risk for us to be transmitting this virus to others.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the amount of daily cases is roughly 30 and is “more than we’re comfortable with.” He urged people to avoid parties where they didn’t know everyone attending.

“This is the time to keep numbers, small, and that is the way we do it because we know there’s no vaccine and we know there’s no cure,” Dix said.

Henry said it is important to ensure recent cases don’t result in a “dramatic uptick once again.” The two weeks following the B.C. Day long weekend are important, she said, since many people could be unknowingly spreading the virus. British Columbians are asked to keep track of where they’ve been recently, stay up to date with exposure announcements, and be aware of how they’re feeling.

Meanwhile, Fraser Health Authority warns of possible COVID-19 exposure at a Surrey hookah lounge at 10609 King George Highway.

Anyone who was there from 11:59 p.m July 31 to 4 a.m. on Aug. 1 or 11:59 p.m Aug. 1 to 5 a.m. Aug. 2 is asked to monitor for symptoms.