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B.C. announces second wave of COVID-19, 499 new cases over weekend

Last Updated Oct 19, 2020 at 8:26 pm PST

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

B.C. is in its second wave of COVID-19, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry declared Monday

B.C.'s top doctor announced 499 new cases over the past three days and two deaths

On the same day, Canada surpassed 200,000 cases total

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — B.C. is in its second wave of COVID-19, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry declared as she announced 499 new cases and two deaths over the past three days.

On Monday, Canada surpassed 200,000 cases total. The bulk of the country’s caseload has been concentrated in Ontario and Quebec. The latter has had more than 94,400 cases.

But numbers have been rising elsewhere in the country in recent weeks as Canada deals with a second wave of the pandemic, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared at the end of September.

Earlier this month, Henry said B.C. is again flattening the pandemic curve and held back from declaring a second wave in B.C., calling it a surge or storm.

“One can say that we are in our second wave here of our COVID-19 storm in B.C., but we have control over what that wave looks like,” Henry said after the weekend. “This virus has not gone away. And it has shown us that it is now quite able to hide and spread in our communities around the province.”

However, she said B.C. is not seeing exponential growth.

“We do have more people in hospital than we did a few weeks ago, but that has also stabilized. What we are seeing is continued, ongoing growth.”

Of particular focus are hotspots in the most populous parts of the Lower Mainland, she added.

“We need, however, to make sure that we are doing what we can to avoid a steep and sudden increase in new cases that we have seen in other parts of Canada, in our neighbouring countries, and around the world,” Henry said as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the planet has surpassed 40 million.

Sudden increases can overwhelm a healthcare system.


“It makes it more difficult as well to keep those important things in our community going, like our surgery restarts and other services,” she said.

“Small sacrifices that each of us can make now will help us — help our community and help control in support of our community — to keep our priorities going, our priorities like our surgical restart, like making sure our children are getting the educational and social and emotional support they need in classrooms, like our businesses, better keeping people employed and keeping our communities well.”

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Henry said contact tracing teams are tracking every new COVID-19 case that emerges.

“By sharing information if you are sick, about where you’ve been and who you’ve been with, will ensure that we can make sure that one case doesn’t turn into 100,” she said.

“And by keeping our groups low and keeping our distances, wearing our mask when it’s important, we can keep our transmission risks low in our community, as well.”

Of the new cases, 172 were recorded between Friday and Saturday, then 153 more during the next 24-hour period, and a record 174 for the next.

Henry said the two deaths happened in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health regions, and bring the total in B.C. to 253.

Cases now total 11,687.

Henry also said four more care homes have outbreaks — Village Langley, Rosemary Heights Seniors Village, Zion Park Manor, and the Royal Arch Masonic Home — while confirming one at J and L Beef in Abbotsford.

Of 19 active outbreaks in the healthcare system, 17 are in long-term care and assisted living facilities. The other two are in acute care units.

Of 1,639 active cases in B.C., 67 people are in hospital, including 19 in intensive care.

The BC Centre for Disease Control conducted 27,915 tests for COVID-19 over the past three days, with a positivity rate of about 1.75 per cent.