B.C. adds record-breaking 425 new COVID-19 cases
British Columbia has added 425 cases of COVID-19 to its total over the last 24 hours, the first time the province has ever recorded more than 400 in a day.
There are now 3,389 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C., also a record. That total includes 97 people who are in hospital, of whom 24 are in intensive care.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Thursday's numbers at a live briefing on B.C.'s response to the pandemic. There have been no additional deaths in the last 24 hours, Henry said.
Since the pandemic began, there have been 16,560 cases recorded in B.C. and 273 deaths.
B.C. has recorded upwards of 300 COVID-19 cases on five of the last six days, following a weekend that saw multiple case records shattered in the province.
The vast majority of B.C.'s new cases were recorded in the Lower Mainland, with 126 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 268 in Fraser Health. Between them, those two health authorities account for roughly 93 per cent of the 425 new cases announced Thursday.
Henry said an increase in cases was always expected in the fall as people began spending more time indoors, but with B.C.'s caseload continuing a rise that began over the summer, she pleaded with British Columbians to help "manage" that increase effectively.
While B.C. has not yet followed the lead of other jurisdictions in returning to the "lockdown" policies seen in March and April, Henry suggested such a change could be forthcoming if managing the increase proves too difficult.
"I am asking once again for your help to slow the spread of this virus in B.C. so that we can keep our schools, our businesses and our communities open and safe," she said.
The provincial health officer also announced two more outbreaks at long-term care homes, one at Tabor Home in Abbotsford and one at Pinegrove Place in Richmond.
Another outbreak - at Queen's Park Care Centre in New Westminster - has been declared over, leaving B.C. with 30 active outbreaks in health-care facilities, 28 of which are in long-term care. The other two are in acute-care facilities.
There have been no new community outbreaks declared over the last 24 hours, Henry said, adding that B.C. continues to see "ongoing clusters in workplaces and other venues."
Health officials are monitoring a total of 7,519 people because of exposures to known cases of COVID-19, the provincial health officer said.
On a positive note, Henry said, the outbreak at Ecole de l'Anse-au-sable in Kelowna - B.C.'s first instance of widespread transmission of the coronavirus in a school setting - has been declared over.
Students and staff will return to class at the school on Friday, Henry said.