The number of British Columbians with active COVID-19 infections hit a new high on September 16, with 1,614 people battling the virus that has caused a global pandemic. This is 24 more people than yesterday and 507 more than it was at the start of the month.
Pushing the number of active cases up is consistently high numbers of new infections identified on a daily basis. There were 122 new COVID-19 infections detected overnight in B.C., for a total of 7,498 cases identified since the virus was first confirmed in B.C. on January 28.
The vast majority of those infected are self-isolating at home, although 60 people are sick enough to be in hospital, and 23 of those individuals are in intensive care units. There has not been more British Columbians in intensive care units with COVID-19 since May 1 – nearly 20 weeks ago.
The good news is that for the second consecutive day, no one has died from the disease in the province. That leaves the death toll from the novel coronavirus at 219.
Of everyone who has been infected, 5,646 people have recovered. Recovery information remains unclear in 19 cases, many of which could be people who were infected in B.C. and left the province without keeping health officials up to date on their status.
The total number of COVID-19 infections in the province by health region are:
• 2,660 in Vancouver Coastal Health (up 52);
• 3,835 in Fraser Health (up 51);
• 195 in Island Health (no change);
• 485 in Interior Health (up six);
• 237 in Northern Health (up 12); and
• 85 people who reside outside Canada (no change).
"There have been no new community outbreaks, although there continue to be community exposure events," provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement. "There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks."
The 11 assisted living, long-term care homes and seniors' rental buildings with ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks are:
• OPAL by Element assisted living facility in Vancouver;
• Point Grey Private Hospital long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Royal Arch Masonic Home long-term care facility in Vancouver (second outbreak);
• Bear Creek Villa independent living facility in Surrey;
• Cherington Place long-term care facility in Surrey;
• Evergreen Hamlets long-term care facility in Surrey;
• KinVillage assisted living facility in Tsawwassen;
• Milieu Children and Family Services Society community-living facility in Courtenay;
• New Vista Care Home long-term care facility in Burnaby;
• Normanna long-term care facility in Burnaby; and
• Rideau Retirement Centre independent living facility in Burnaby.
"One of the biggest concerns with COVID-19 is the unidentified spread of the virus in our communities," Henry and Dix said.
"This is why getting tested as soon as you have symptoms is so important. With the knowledge of new cases or clusters, public health teams can quickly complete contact tracing, notify those who may be exposed and more importantly, contain the further spread."
Among the moves that the province has taken under its declaration of a state of emergency was one to enable police and other provincial enforcement officers to issue $2,000 violation tickets to owners or organizers who contravene the provincial health officer's order restricting attendance at gatherings and events.
The B.C. government yesterday revealed that between August 21, when the province made that order, and September 12, 14 violation tickets were issued, including eight $2,000 violation tickets to owners or organizers contravening the provincial health order on gatherings and events, and six $200 violation tickets to individuals.
Henry and Dix today, however, made clear that while large gatherings have been a steady source of viral transmission, "many of the new cases we are seeing in the past weeks are from small gatherings, where people see different groups of friends on different days – inadvertently spreading the virus to many people."