In their final scheduled COVID-19 update of the week, B.C. health officials announced another record-breaking daily caseload. The province has recorded 589 additional cases of the coronavirus and two deaths in the last 24 hours.
There are now 3,741 active cases of the disease in British Columbia, which is also a record. That total includes 104 people who are hospitalized, 28 of whom are in intensive care.
The last time there were more than 100 people in hospital with COVID-19 in B.C. was on April 22. Health officials have previously described hospitalizations as one of the key indicators of the severity of the pandemic.
Friday's numbers came in a written statement from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix that was supposed to be B.C.'s last update on the pandemic until Monday. In the afternoon, however, the pair announced that they plan to hold a live briefing at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The 589 cases added to the total represent the first time the province has added more than 500 cases in a single day, and the second consecutive day in which the pandemic update has reached previously unfamiliar highs.
Thursday's 425 cases were also a record, and the first time B.C. ever recorded more than 400 cases in a 24-hour period.
Since the pandemic began, the province has recorded 17,149 total cases of COVID-19 and 275 deaths.
Henry and Dix also announced six new outbreaks of the coronavirus in health-care facilities: at Suncreek Village in Surrey, Fort Langley Seniors Community in Langley, Northcrest Care Centre in Delta, the PATH unit at Fellburn Care Center in Burnaby, Ridge Meadows Hospital in Maple Ridge and Langley Memorial Hospital in Langley.
Fraser Health had previously announced the two hospital outbreaks in a news release Thursday afternoon.
An outbreak at Fair Haven Homes Burnaby Lodge has been declared over, leaving the province with a total of 35 COVID-19 outbreaks in health-care settings, including 31 in long-term care and four in acute care.
Health officials also announced one new community outbreak Friday, at the construction site at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.
As they did during their live briefing on Thursday, Henry and Dix suggested that more restrictions could be imposed as B.C.'s caseload continues to surge, but stressed that they would prefer not to have to do so.
“When faced with the gathering storm clouds of increased exposures and transmission in a particular sector, we step up inspections to identify gaps and, at times, increase the safety measures that are required," the pair said in their statement. "Only if it is clearly demonstrated that a business or sector is unable to operate safely are businesses ordered to close."
Henry and Dix said "the vast majority" of businesses in B.C. have been doing all they can to keep their employees and customers safe, and they asked business owners to review their COVID-19 safety plans.
“For employees and customers, you can also do your part and help businesses to stay open by staying away if you are feeling unwell, using a mask when indoors and not asking businesses or their employees to bend the rules," they added. “We have one COVID-19 curve in B.C., and we all have a role to play to get through this storm and push our curve back down.”
The vast majority of the province's newly announced cases of COVID-19 are located in the Lower Mainland, with 402 in the Fraser Health region and 146 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.
The remaining cases were recorded elsewhere in B.C., with 24 in Interior Health, 12 in Northern Health and five in Island Health.