B.C. adds 911 cases of COVID-19, 11 deaths as hospitalizations top 300

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British Columbia's surging COVID-19 case numbers broke provincial records yet again on Friday as health officials announced 911 new infections.

That's the most cases identified in the province in a 24-hour period, topping the previous record of 887 that was set just one day earlier. B.C. has now recorded a total of 30,844 cases since the start of the pandemic.

In her COVID-19 briefing, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also revealed hospitalizations from the coronavirus reached a new high of 301, including 69 patients in critical care or intensive care units.

Another 11 people have also died from the disease, Henry said, marking the fifth day in a row that health officials in the province have announced at least 10 fatalities.

Most of the 384 people killed by COVID-19 in B.C. have been in their 70s and 80s, Henry said, describing them as "our seniors, our elders, grandparents, spouses, family members."

"I know there are 11 additional families out there who are grieving today, and we send our condolences to them," she said.

Most of the latest victims were residents of long-term care homes, dozens of which have experienced new outbreaks during the province's second wave of the pandemic. There are currently four care homes in the Fraser Health region reporting at least 50 cases of COVID-19.

Henry announced three new health-care outbreaks on Friday, at the German-Canadian Benevolent Society Care Home, Villa Cathay Care Home and Morgan Place. The outbreak at Peace Portal Seniors' Village was declared over, leaving 59 active outbreaks in B.C.'s health-care system.

There are now 10,430 people under active public health monitoring after being exposed to a known case of COVID-19.

Of B.C.'s more than 30,000 total cases, 21,304 people have recovered so far.

It's been more than a week since Henry announced strict new province-wide rules around social interactions, and nearly three weeks since similar rules were applied to the province's most populated regions – but infections have continued to climb at an alarming rate.

Heading into a weekend where many people are likely to consider holiday shopping, both in person and online, Henry urged everyone to keep their COVID-19 precautions in mind whenever they leave the house.

"That means keeping your distance, wearing your mask, washing your hands, keeping your numbers small, keeping local," Henry said. "Support our local businesses who need our support, whether that's shopping online and picking up or booking ahead or picking a time when it's not busy."

Henry also addressed the growing number of violent confrontations that have erupted over B.C.'s new mask mandate, which requires people to cover their face in many public areas, with exceptions.

Those include one incident at a Walmart in the small northern community of Dawson Creek, where a man was recorded punching an employee following an apparent altercation over mask-wearing.

"We've heard stories this week that make me very concerned and sad about store clerks and restaurant staff who have faced undeserved aggression from people who don't want to wear a mask," Henry said, calling on the public to show compassion and kindness to one another.

"Please remember that this requirement to wear a mask in indoor public locations is a provincial order that everyone must follow, just as we do things like wearing seatbelts and helmets and following the speed limits. This is something that you do to protect yourself and to protect others."

 

- With files from CTV -