B.C. COVID-19 cases explode over long weekend as test backlog is cleared

B.C. recorded 549 positive tests in the past four days, including a record 170 on Saturday

B.C. health officials identified 549 new COVID-19 cases in the past four days as a backlog in testing was cleared by BC Centre for Disease Control staff.

Researchers executed 39,170 tests in that four-day time-span, meaning that the positive-test rate rose to 1.4%, which is above where it has been over the past week but still in a reasonable range, according to B.C. provincial health officer Bonnie Henry. 

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The four-day span included a record 170 people who tested positive on October 10; 159 people who tested positive on October 11; 119 people who tested positive on October 12; and 101 people who tested positive in the past 24 hours.

Before this weekend, the record number of people who tested positive in a 24-hour span was on October 2, when 161 people were deemed to have tested positive.

There are now a total of 10,734 cases identifiied since the virus that caused a global pandemic first appeared in B.C. in late January. 

"The numbers are higher than we would like to see," Henry said, before explaining that the numbers should be seen the context of increased tests being conducted.

The number of people with active infections has risen to 1,476 – the highest since September 21. While the majority of those battling active infections are self-isolating at home, there are 77 people in hospital, with 24 of those in intensive care units. 

Five new deaths from the disease have been recorded, making the province's death toll from the virus 250.

Health officials are monitoring a record 3,618 people for potential infections thanks to known exposures to identified cases. 

"It's just a caution for people," Henry said.

"We've seen some transmission, particularly in spectators, whose children are playing, whether that is indoors in an arena or in a sports field. We need to step back and remember that even though we want to see everything that our child is doing, that this is the time to focus on letting them play and play safely. And making sure that we keep our safe distance from others so we don't jeopardize these sports teams."

Recoveries continue to rack up, as the 8,974 people who have recovered from the virus now account for 83.6% of those who have been infected. 

There remain three active outbreaks at B.C. hospitals and all in the Lower Mainland:
• Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey;
• St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver; and
• Delta Hospital in Delta.

Henry said that outbreaks at two seniors' facilities are now over – at Evergreen Hamlets long-term care facility in Surrey, and at Cherington Place long-term care facility in Surrey.

Four new seniors' homes now have outbreaks:
• PICS assisted living facility in Surrey;
• Chartwell Carrington House Retirement Resident in MIssion;
• Yaletown House long-term care facility in Vancouver; and
• Weinberg Residence in Vancouver.

That leaves 13 other seniors' homes with active outbreaks. Those homes are:
• Haro Park Centre long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Banfield Pavilion long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Point Grey Private Hospital long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Harrison West at Elim Village in Surrey;
• Peace Portal Seniors Village in Surrey;
• Chartwell Crescent Gardens in Surrey;
• Langley Lodge in Langley;
• White Rock Seniors' Village in White Rock;
• Thornebridge Gardens in New Westminster;
• KinVillage assisted living facility in Tsawwassen;
• New Vista Care Home long-term care facility in Burnaby;
• George Derby Centre in Burnaby; and the
• Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre long-term care facility.

So far, there have been 919 people infected in healthcare settings: 533 residents and 386 staff. 

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom 

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