The number of people fighting COVID-19 in hospital also exceeded 300 for the first time, rising to 301. Another 69 people were in critical or intensive care.
The story continues under the ad
“I spoke about the fact that we are in a pandemic storm, our COVID storm, and now we are facing a storm surge,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health administrator.
“Our safe zone has retreated; this sandbar where we can safely operate has now become smaller.
Again, the majority of cases were in the Fraser Health Region (649) and the Vancouver Coast Health Region (153).
Forty-seven cases were in the Interior Health Region, 35 in the Northern Health Region and 27 on Vancouver Island.
YVR pilot project to target asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19
Increase in cases amid restrictions
The grim figures came nearly three weeks after Henry imposed new, tough restrictions on the Lower Mainland, which appear to have failed to stop the surge in the number of cases.
Henry pointed to a “critical mass” of cases in the community, the increasing time people spend indoors, and the apparent propensity of the virus to spread in cooler weather as factors behind continued transmission.
“Right now in BC and around the world… we are seeing a much higher level of community transmission. This means that things that were safe – using the guidelines that we had developed over the past 10 months – are no longer in that safe zone, ”said Henry.
“It’s different from what we used to experience.”
BC doctor makes heartfelt appeal after losing 3 patients in just one weekend to COVID-19
Henry stressed the need to continue to abstain from social and religious gatherings where transmission continues to occur, but said workplace transmission has also become an issue.
COVID-19: Dr Deena Hinshaw calls leak of public health meeting tapes a ‘personal betrayal’
Mink slaughtered with COVID-19 mutation emerge from graves in Denmark
She spoke of cases ranging from light industrial environments to auto dealerships, and said the province was working with WorkSafe BC to try to tackle high-risk activities, like carpooling or clustering in break rooms.
Interactions between workers and customers, she said, have not been a major source of transmission.
Henry resisted suggestions that British Columbia emulate the approach other jurisdictions, like Ontario have taken, but said the province is still looking for new measures.
Any action will depend on a range of factors, including where it was transmitted and the test’s positivity rate, she said.
“We can get a better idea next week, we’re still where we’re not surprised to see cases increasing.”
Coronavirus: the challenges of vaccine distribution
COVID-19-related hospitalizations increased by more than 285% in November, while the number of intensive-care patients rose 176%.
Despite the record number of hospitalizations, Health Minister Adrian Dix said acute care beds remained at 71 percent capacity and intensive care capacity at 55.6 percent.
Click here to see the data »
But he warned that beds aren’t the only part of the health system under pressure.
“The challenge is not only having the capacity to bed, but also having the right staff and resources to deal with the situation,” Dix said.
“We’re doing it, for now, but I think it’s important that everyone understands how essential it is for everyone, for those who are waiting for further procedures… that we do what we can. to stop the spread. “
Charges pending after B.C. man’s backlash to request to wear mask
This includes strictly observing physical distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and avoiding social gatherings – measures Ten insists will save lives.
TransLink riders must now wear masks at indoor or protected stops
Vaccine planned for “early 2021”
Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a Canadian Forces general who commanded NATO troops in Iraq would lead the deployment.
Even with no vaccine yet to hit the market and an uncertain timing, Trudeau said a “majority” of Canadians should be vaccinated against the virus by September.
Henry told reporters that she remained convinced the product would arrive in British Columbia much sooner than that.
COVID-19 vaccine will be available to all Canadians in 2021: Ottawa
“I have no doubts that Canada has contracts in place,” said Henry.
However, she acknowledged that there were many “moving parts” in distribution, including strict quality control which could lead to delays.
“I think we’ll see the vaccine early in 2021, as planned, as soon as all the safety criteria are met,” she said.
Just under 69% of British Columbia’s 30,884 cases have recovered.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.