Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates how the provincial election will be held during the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference at the B.C. legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

A total of 358 new cases of COVID-19 were discovered in B.C. over the weekend, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Monday.

The cases were recorded between Saturday and Monday, with 130 new cases discovered between Friday and Saturday, 108 recorded between Saturday and Sunday and 120 found between Sunday and Monday.

Of those cases, 11 were located in the Island Health region, bringing the health authority’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 220 since the pandemic began.

Four more deaths related to COVID-19 were seen over the weekend, bringing the province’s death toll to 242.

“Again, these tragedies are compounded by the fact that we still cannot mourn in the ways that we usually do,” said Henry. “Our condolences go to the families and the communities and the care teams that care for these people.”

Three of the victims were residents of the Fraser Health region, while one lived in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

There are now 1,353 active cases of COVID-19 across the province, including 66 people who are in hospital for treatment, 16 of whom require critical care.

Three more outbreaks appeared in B.C.’s health-care system over the weekend, all within the Fraser Health region.

B.C.’s top doctor says that the three new outbreaks are so far limited to one staff member at each site, and health-care teams are at each site to provide support.

One health-care outbreak at a long-term care home in the Vancouver Coastal Health region has been declared over, leaving the total number of health-care outbreaks at 19 across the province.

Sixteen of the outbreaks are at long-term care or assisted-living facilities while three are located at hospital acute care units.

One new community outbreak was also declared over the weekend at the Valhalla Distribution/MSJ Distribution centre in the Fraser Health authority. Henry did not say how many cases have been linked to the workplace, but said that pandemic protocols have been put in place at the distribution centre.

Latest COVID-19 modelling

B.C.’s top doctor revealed the province’s newest COVID-19 modelling data Monday.

The data suggests that B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission rate is on the decline.

Henry says that the average British Columbian who contracts COVID-19 is spreading it to just one other person at most.

This is a dramatic reduction from August and September, when the rate of transmission was above one person.

“Our growth rate is decreasing which means we are having safe connections in our community now, that people are doing the right thing, that we have our COVID safety plans in schools and workplaces and restaurants and that they’re making a difference,” said Henry.

She credits the decrease in transmission with British Columbians following public health advice, as well as the province shutting down COVID-19 transmission hotspots, like nightclubs and banquet halls.

“This is incredibly important and it’s a testament to the work that everybody has been doing in B.C.,” said Henry.

The modelling data also shows that children under the age of 19 remain “underrepresented” when it comes to COVID-19 cases in the province, despite schools reopening for the fall.

Henry says that children aged 0 to 10 make up approximately 10 per cent of B.C.’s total population, but just five per cent of the province’s confirmed COVID-19 cases.

This has remained true over the past week despite the number of coronavirus tests increasing significantly among school-aged children.

COVID-19 testing has increased four-fold for children aged five to 12 since schools have reopened, and twice as many tests have been conducted on young people aged 13 to 18 over the same period.

Henry says that no young person has required intensive care treatment or died from the virus in B.C. since the start of the pandemic. Overall, less than one per cent of the people who have required hospitalization due to COVID-19 in B.C. were children, adds Henry.

Overall, no one under the age of 40 has died of COVID-19, while a small number of people in their 30s have required critical care.

B.C.’s top doctor says that the increase in COVID-19 tests has slowed the turnaround time for test results. Henry says that the average turnaround time is now 28 hours for test results.

She acknowledged that residents in the Island Health authority continue to face problems contacting the region’s COVID-19 call centre to access a test.

While no timeline for improving conditions have been outlined, Henry said that the issue will be resolved as soon as possible.

The vast majority of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases continue to be found in the Lower Mainland. The Fraser Health region has reported 4,980 cases while the Vancouver Coastal Health region has confirmed 3,580.

Elsewhere in the province, the Interior Health region has reported 548 cases, the Northern Health region has confirmed 322 and the Island Health region has discovered 220.

A total of 89 people who normally live outside of Canada have tested positive for the virus in B.C.

Since the pandemic began, 8,115 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the province, an increase of 302 since Friday.