British Columbia set a grim new record in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with 28 deaths in a 24-hour period.
Provincial health worker Dr Bonnie Henry announced the deaths as well as 723 new cases of the virus during his briefing on Thursday.
Twelve of these deaths occurred in Fraser Health Region, 15 in Coastal Vancouver Health Region and one on Vancouver Island. All but two of the new deaths have been in residential care facilities, Henry said.
“These are family, friends, people who have had interesting and stimulating lives,” she said.
“It is a deeply difficult day for each of these families, for the community and for all of us,” added Health Minister Adrian Dix.
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“It underscores our point of view, I think, that even if we get the vaccine and potentially see a brighter future in 2021, our work to save lives must and will continue for some time.
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That means 587 people have died from the virus so far in British Columbia – of which 146 were reported in December alone.
Most of Thursday’s new cases were in Fraser Health Region (456) and Coastal Health Region Vancouver (135).
Eighty-two were in the Interior Health Region, 40 in the Northern Health Region, and 10 on Vancouver Island.
The province also had a record 83 people in critical or intensive care, some of the 346 people hospitalized with COVID-19.
There have been 9,524 active cases in British Columbia and an additional 11,947 people have isolated themselves due to possible exposure.
About 72 percent of British Columbia’s 40,060 total cases have recovered.
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