B.C. reports 16 more COVID-19 deaths, adds 656 new cases

Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company's lab, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. has reported 16 more deaths related to COVID-19 and 656 new cases of the virus, according to a late afternoon statement released by health officials Tuesday.

There are now 8,796 active cases of COVID-19 across the province, while B.C.’s death toll has reached 457.

“We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in a joint written statement.

There are currently 336 people in hospital for treatment of COVID-19 across B.C., including 76 people who require intensive care. Another 10,123 people are under active public health monitoring due to exposure to known cases of COVID-19.

A new health-care facility outbreak was also declared at a long-term care home over the past 24 hours, while two long-term care home outbreaks were reported over.

The province now has 61 active outbreaks in the health-care system. Fifty-six of the outbreaks are located in long-term care or assisted living facilities, while five are ongoing at hospital acute-care units.

The vast majority of Tuesday’s new COVID-19 cases were found in the Lower Mainland. The Fraser Health region has reported 408 new cases while the Vancouver Coastal Health region has confirmed 140.

Elsewhere in the province, the Interior Health region discovered 83 new cases, the Northern Health region reported 15 and the Island Health region confirmed 10 new cases of COVID-19.

Since the pandemic began, B.C. has seen a total of 33,894 cases of COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, 23,774 people who tested positive for the virus in B.C. have recovered, according to health officials.

Both Henry and Dix called for everyone to continue following the province’s strict temporary health measures, which are in effect until midnight Dec. 7.

“Without exception, follow the provincial health officer's orders in place,” said the pair.

“Remember that events, which refer to anything that gathers people together - whether on a one-time, regular or irregular basis - are not allowed for now. This includes religious, cultural or community events,” said Dix and Henry. “Do not gather at home with anyone other than your household or core bubble.” 

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