Health officials monitor record 5,101 people as surge in B.C. COVID-19 cases continues

Province has recorded 1,734 new cases in past week

The surge in new COVID-19 cases in B.C. continued October 27, with 217 new cases identified – a daily total that would have been a record high had it been a week ago. With the surge in new infections in the province this week, today's 217-case total is the fifth highest number of new infections that B.C. has seen in a 24-hour period.

Indeed, the 1,734 infections in the past week is 136% more than the 735 cases that were identified in B.C. in the entire month of July. 

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With only 5,157 tests conducted in the past 24 hours, the province's positive-test rate has soared to 4.2%. 

Since late January, when the virus that caused a global pandemic was first identified in the province, health officials have identified 13,588 cases. Of those, 10,954 people have recovered, 2,322 people are actively battling infections and 259 people have died. That leaves 53 people unaccounted for, and health officials have told BIV that they have likely left the province without alerting authorities.

Most of those actively fighting the disease are self-isolating at home, although 84 people are in hospitals, with 27 of those in intensive care wards, provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and deputy minister of health Stephen Brown said in a joint statement.

Most of the new cases in the past 24 hours have been in the Fraser Health region, which is also the region hardest hit throughout the pandemic.

The breakdown of all known infections in B.C. by health region, with the number of new cases overnight in brackets is:
• 4,476 in Vancouver Coastal Health (48);
• 7,674 in Fraser Health (145);
• 250 in Island Health (no change);
• 717 in Interior Health (24);
• 383 in Northern Health (no change); and
• 88 people who reside outside Canada (no change).

There remains an active outbreak at Surrey Memorial Hospital, while Fraser Health's chief medical health officer Elizabeth Brodkin told BIV that the outbreak at Delta Hospital has been declared over.

There are two new outbreaks at healthcare facilities in Burnaby: Fellburn Care Centre, and St. Michael's Centre.

There are 19 other seniors' long-term care or assisted-living facilities with ongoing, active outbreaks. They are:
• Evergreen Baptist Care Society in White Rock;
• Good Samaritan Victoria Heights in New Westminster;
• Queens Park Care Centre;
• Sunset Manor in Chilliwack;
• Three Links Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Royal Arch Masonic Home in Vancouver;
• Haro Park Centre long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Banfield Pavilion 4 West in Vancouver;
• Peace Portal Seniors Village in Surrey;
• PICS assisted living facility in Surrey;
• Rosemary Heights Seniors Village in Surrey;
• Zion Park Manor in Surrey;
• Laurel Place in Surrey;
• Avenida Seniors Community;
• The Village in Langley;
• Fort Langley Seniors Community in Fort Langley; and
• Baillie House in Maple Ridge;
• Fair Haven Homes Burnaby Lodge in Burnaby; and
• Agassiz Seniors Community.

Henry and other health officials are calling on B.C. residents to stay home if possible on Halloween. If people do hold gatherings, health officials are urging the gatherings to be small, with a maximum of six people from outside the household. Those six people are also expected to be with those six people being the same individuals that have interacted with household members in the past. 

"If you're holding social gatherings and celebrations [with the same six people from outside the household,] please do so where there are COVID-19 safety measures in place, such as restaurants, and or other licensed businesses," Fraser Health CEO Victoria Lee said in an October 27 conference call. 

"We are emphasizing this point because we know Halloween is coming up this weekend, on Saturday night, and it's tempting to have gatherings or parties. We're urging our communities not to do this at this time. Please follow public health guidelines and measures, and stay home with your household."

She said that if families have small children who want to dress in costumes, it is OK to take the kids around the family's block, but to remain physically distant from other neighbours, or family members who are not part of your household.

"We will be monitoring Halloween weekend and we'll implement additional measures for our communities if it's needed," Lee said.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom 

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