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1,933 COVID-19 cases over weekend, 'very real' strain on B.C. health care: top doctor

Last Updated Nov 23, 2020 at 4:43 pm PDT


B.C. saw a three-day total of 1,933 new COVID-19 cases, 17 deaths

Dr. Bonnie Henry said British Columbians need to cut down transmission to relieve 'very real stress' on health-care

Six more outbreaks reported in health-care facilities, 970 active cases in long-term care

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 shows no indication of slowing down, and the stress rising cases and outbreaks are putting on the health-care system is “very real,” according to the provincial health officer.

On Monday, Dr. Bonnie Henry reported a combined total of 1,933 new COVID-19 infections over the weekend.

Seventeen more people died from the virus over the weekend. The majority of them were from the Fraser Health region and the rest were from Vancouver Coastal. Since the start of the pandemic, 348 people have died from the virus, most of them were residents in long-term care, said Henry.

RELATED: 10 COVID-19 deaths in B.C. amid record hospitalizations, dropping daily case count

A record 277 people are currently hospitalized because of the coronavirus, with 59 in critical care. And with nearly 1,000 active cases in long-term care, Henry said it is a very “sobering thought” knowing how challenging outbreaks can be in those facilities.

“We need to urgently reduce the level of transmission in our province to keep our schools, and workplaces open, and relieve that very real stress we are seeing right now on our health-care system,” she said.

Henry asked British Columbians to take seriously the COVID-19 restrictions implemented last week, which are aimed at reducing social interactions to curb transmission.

RELATED: Mandatory masks in indoor public spaces among new B.C. COVID-19 restrictions

“Simply put, we all need to focus on making a difference,” she said. “Now, for these next few weeks in this province, all of us need to stop these events and pause, so that we can get control of this virus.”

Influenza not as prevalent

However, there is some positive news regarding the province’s healthcare system.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said there is no indication the influenza is circulating in the community.

Henry clarified that there are usually 700 to 800 positive flu tests this time of year. As of last week, there were around seven.

“We think, and we hope that this will continue and is partly because of the measures we have in place to prevent COVID-19 because it is transmitted in very similar ways,” she said.

Health officials had worried the healthcare system would be battling COVID-19 and the flu at the same time this winter.

Dix also said there haven’t been any flu outbreaks in long-term care.

But there are six more healthcare facilities dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks: North Peace Seniors Housing Society in Fort St. John, Queen’s Park Care Center in New West Minster, Care Life Fleetwood in Surrey, Sunset Manor in Chilliwack, Renfrew Care Center in Vancouver, and Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver. The outbreaks at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and Evergreen Baptist Care Society are over.

Meanwhile, Alberta reported 1,549 new COVID-19 infections Monday, while parts of Ontario move into tighter restrictions.

B.C.’s restrictions are in place until Dec. 7.