83 more COVID-19 infections in British Columbia as province sets new workload record

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VANCOUVER – Health officials have identified 83 more cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia, pushing the province’s number of cases to a new record. Tuesday’s update from Assistant Provincial Health Administrator Dr. Reka Gustafson and British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix brings the total number of locally recorded cases since the start of the pandemic to 4 677.

And although 51 people have also recovered from the virus since officials last briefed on Monday, the new infections have still pushed the number of active cases in British Columbia to 775.

That’s more infections the province experienced during the alarming first wave of COVID-19 in March and April.

The number of people sick enough to require hospitalization remains low, but Gustafson and Dix noted that there remains a very real danger that young and healthy people could unintentionally spread the coronavirus to older and more vulnerable residents – y including members of their own families.

“Seeing friends may sound safe, but if you are in close contact with an elderly family member, your visit may inadvertently endanger them,” they said in a joint written statement.

“Let’s use our layers of protection, giving ourselves and those around us the space to stay safe, no matter what we’re doing or where we are. This is how we protect our communities and stay strong.

Officials said there are currently six people in hospital with COVID-19, an increase of two from Monday. Three of them are in intensive care or intensive care units.

By comparison, four months ago there were over 100 people in the hospital and over 50 in intensive care. Health officials have said the hospitalization rate is one of the most important metrics for measuring the severity of the pandemic in British Columbia.

But the rapidly increasing workload has always generated significant public alarm.

While British Columbia regularly reported single-digit updates in June and early July, there were an average of 80 new cases per day last week.

And as cases increase, so does the number of people forced to self-isolate due to potential exposure to the virus. Officials said there were currently 2,326 people under “active public health surveillance” across the province.

Since the virus can even be spread by people with very mild symptoms, Gustafson and Dix said everyone in British Columbia needs to take quarantine seriously.

“It is essential that anyone who advises isolation stays at home and stays away from others for the entire 14-day period,” they said.

The push has also re-emphasized the crucial work of contact tracing teams, who rush to respond to each identified case in order to mitigate transmission. British Columbia recently announced that it is hiring 500 more health care professionals to help with this effort before the fall.

No new deaths or outbreaks were reported on Tuesday, leaving the province’s death toll at 198. A total of 3,704 people who have contracted COVID-19 in British Columbia have recovered.

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