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BC health officials announce 538 new COVID-19 cases today

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 5:08 PST, Thu November 19, 2020

New cases of COVID-19 and new deaths dipped today, while hospitalizations continue to grow.

“We need to urgently reduce the level of transmission and new cases across the province in the next two weeks,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

She also announced 538 new cases of the virus in BC today, including nine that are epidemiologically linked. BC has now recorded 24,960 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. In the last 24 hours, there were nearly 13,800 tests conducted across the province for a positivity rate of just under 4 per cent. 

There were 178 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 309 in the Fraser Health region, 12 in the Island Health region, 11 in the Northern Health region, and 28 in the Interior Health region.

The number of active cases rose slightly to 6,929. There are 217 people in hospital, 204 of whom are in the Fraser or Vancouver Coastal Health regions. Fifty-nine of those people are in critical care. There was one new death for a total of 321. Nearly 10,000 people (9,977) are under active public health monitoring, a slight increase from yesterday’s number.

Henry also announced six new healthcare outbreaks, leaving 59 active outbreaks in the healthcare sector: 40 in longterm care or assisted living facilities and 19 in acute care facilities. There was also one new community outbreak announced at a worksite in Kitimat.

“While we all hoped we would not experience a second wave, based on what has been happening around the world, around the country, and around our province, we anticipated that this might occur,” Henry said.

“Four weeks ago we had about 175 cases a day and I was anxious then. Yesterday we had over 700 people in our province affected, and we know that our hospitals are getting stretched, our ICU capacity is getting stretched and our communities are suffering.”

She added that someone in their 30s died of COVID-19 in BC last week, and that the healthcare system is experiencing strains in every region of the province.

Interim Health Minister Adrian Dix said 702 contact tracers have been hired to date, a number that is expected to reach 950 when hiring is completed. He also expressed concern with the rapidly rising numbers, saying the case count has increased fourfold in four weeks and hospitalizations have tripled in the same time period.

For a list of community exposure events, click here.

For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and testing, visit: or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.

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