B.C. reported its highest daily COVID-19 count yet on Wednesday, with 1,013 new confirmed cases, as the province recorded its 100,000th case.
It was the first time more than 1,000 cases had been reported in a single day in B.C.
Forty-seven of the new cases were in the Island Health region, just shy of the record 55 cases reported last Friday.
Wednesday’s total also lifts B.C.’s case count to 100,048. There have been three more deaths, for a total of 1,458 in the province since the pandemic began.
In a joint statement, Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said: “Help us to push our curve back down again. Do this by staying small, staying outside and staying with your same group of close contacts. This is what will get us closer to putting COVID-19 behind us.”
The number of new cases across B.C. has been rising, prompting the introduction this week of new restrictions on restaurants, gyms and religious services.
Rising case counts are also a concern on Vancouver Island, said Dix, who noted that the positivity rate in Island Health was higher six weeks ago than in Fraser Health Authority, where the bulk of the province’s cases have been.
However, the Island also has low rates of vaccine hesitancy and high rates of age-based vaccine delivery.
Thirteen variants of concern have been detected in Island Health — 11 of the B.1.1.7 strain first detected in the U.K., one of the P.1 Brazil strain, and one of the South African B.1.351 variant. Most of the 2,553 variants detected in the province so far have been of the U.K. strain.
But Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health’s chief medical officer, said there could be more, as a “significant number” of specimens had been sent to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control for verification with whole genome sequencing.
“We could be looking at a doubling or tripling of the numbers of variants within the next couple of weeks, but we have to wait for the B.C. CDC to confirm it, ” Stanwick said.