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Nine deaths, almost 2,000 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. over weekend

Last Updated Nov 16, 2020 at 8:19 pm PST

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

The province recorded nine deaths and almost 2,000 new COVID-19 cases over weekend

The majority of those who died were living in long-term care or had underlying illnesses and were in hospital

Outbreaks have also been declared at 11 more health care facilities

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — The province recorded nine deaths and almost 2,000 new COVID-19 cases over weekend — both three-day highs.

The majority of those who died were living in long-term care or had underlying illnesses and were in hospital. Their deaths bring the total in B.C. to 299.

“As the number of cases and outbreaks are showing, we are in the most challenging of times. We have come through a wave, we’re now in the midst of our second, and it has become even more challenging,” Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday.

“And the virus is not stopping.”

Of the 1,959 new cases, 654 were recorded from Friday to Saturday, then 659 from Saturday to Sunday, and 646 from Sunday to Monday.

All three totals broke the record of 617 set Friday, and come after provincial modeling data last week indicated the number of new cases is doubling about every 13 days.

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About 70 per cent of the new cases — or 1,361 — were in the Fraser Health region. More than 450 were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

Outbreaks have also been declared at 11 more health-care facilities, mainly in Metro Vancouver, while the number of people hospitalized with the virus is up to a record 181.

“We now have 52 active outbreaks in our health care system — 45 in long-term care and assisted living and seven in acute care,” Henry said.

She confirmed outbreaks at Cambridge elementary and the Platinum Athletic Club in Surrey.

Henry also reiterated her order to avoid social gatherings and minimize travel, and encouraged everyone to wear a mask when appropriate to do so.

“So in terms of our social connections, we need to start shrinking back to our pandemic bubble,” she said, adding in Metro Vancouver that means sticking to people in your household.

As for masks, Henry said they are an important part of individual efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19, like washing hands, coughing into one’s sleeve, and maintaining safe distances from others.

“Wearing masks is now, more than ever, an important measure that we, individually, need to take.”

She said masks indoors should and need to be a part of safety plans for all businesses and organizations that have public areas or require employees to gather.

“For customers without a mask, they should be available. And for people who cannot wear a mask, businesses can provide virtual or curbside service instead,” Henry added.

“You wouldn’t ask a business owner to operate outside of their posted business hours, nor should you expect them to bend their COVID-19 rules for you.”

Henry said again she won’t issue an order making the wearing of masks indoors mandatory.

“We know that racialized communities, and people who are homeless, people who are under-housed, are more likely to be targeted with fines when we have those types of settings. So, we are reinforcing the importance of every business to have a COVID safety plan and for businesses that interact with the public, mask-wearing should be part of that.”

Regarding a vaccine, Henry said one should be available for everyone in the province by November of next year.

B.C. has recorded 22,944 cases of COVID-19 to date.

Active cases are up to 6,279.

Of those in hospital with the virus, 57 people are in critical care.