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BC sees highest new daily COVID-19 cases in weeks

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 4:09 PST, Thu December 31, 2020

In their last update of 2020, BC health officials announced an increased new caseload of 683, the highest since Dec. 14.

“As has been the case since the start of this pandemic, the fewer faces and bigger spaces we are in, the better,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. “We have been trending in the right direction for last few weeks, although the increase today reminds us we are still in a very precarious situation.”

Two of the new cases are epidemiologically linked, bringing BC’s cumulative total up to 51,983. Of the new cases, 105 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 447 in the Fraser Health region, 11 in the Island Health region, 64 in the Interior Health region and 36 in the Northern Health region.

The number of active cases rose to 7,803. There are 374 people in hospital, 76 of whom are in critical care. Sadly, eight more people lost their lives, bringing BC’s death toll from COVID-19 to 901. 

There are 9,364 people under active public health monitoring, a number that continues not to include the number in Northern Health. The data system change in that region has also resulted in some over-reporting, Henry said, and the numbers on the BC Centre for Disease Control dashboard will be reconciled over the next few days.

Three new healthcare outbreaks were announced, leaving 52 active outbreaks in longterm care or assisted living facilities and nine in acute care facilities. These outbreaks are currently affecting 1,412 residents and 733 staff members.

To date 17,510 people have been vaccinated, including both the Pfizer and Moderna immunizations. Yesterday and today saw the first immunizations in some at-risk and remote rural communities across the province, including some First Nations communities.

Henry explained that her decision to cease alcohol sales at 8 p.m. was due to reports of planned holiday celebrations, some for hundreds of people. She also noted that people who work in restaurants and bars were concerned about having to manage unsafe situations, and urged people to support their local restaurants and pubs over the coming weeks.

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

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