More than 2,000 cases were confirmed in British Columbia over Thanksgiving weekend, the provincial health ministry said in its latest update on COVID-19.
In a statement, the ministry said 603 cases had been recorded between Friday and Saturday. 634 others were noted from Saturday to Sunday, followed by 468 between Sunday and Monday.
In the last 24 hours before the press release on Tuesday was sent, 385 more cases were recorded. A total of 2,090 cases were confirmed by testing or epidemiologically linked to other known cases over the long weekend.
And 28 deaths were confirmed over the same four-day period, between Friday and Tuesday. The news comes days after the provincial death toll from the pandemic surpassed 2,000 lives lost.
Five of the deceased lived at Fraser Health Authority and five others at Island Health. Three were in Vancouver Coastal Health, seven in Northern and eight in Interior Health.
With the latest updates, British Columbia has recorded a total of 194,581 cases since the start of the pandemic and 2,029 people have died.
Of the latest cases, about 40 percent of people live in BC’s most populous authority, Fraser Health. On a per capita basis, Northern Health continues to be the most affected by the pandemic in recent weeks.
The update on the spread of the new coronavirus in the province came hours after a new mask mandate went into effect.
Children aged five and over, who already had to mask themselves in school, are now also required to wear face coverings in other indoor public spaces.
A provincial vaccination mandate has also been in effect since Tuesday for long-term care staff and visitors. Nearly 2,000 workers who did not receive either of the two doses of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine are on leave due to the warrant.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said those who choose not to comply with this mandate are “subject to progressive discipline up to and including dismissal”.
The vast majority – 96 percent – of these workers have had at least one injection.
Health officials in British Columbia give daily updates on COVID-19, except weekends and holidays. After a Thanksgiving hiatus, Tuesday’s update included two new health care outbreaks recorded in the period since the ministry’s last press release regarding cases.
These outbreaks have both occurred in the Fraser Health area, West Shore Laylum and Evergreen Manor. British Columbia currently has 19 active outbreaks and 5,183 active cases.
Among the active cases, 357 people are treated in hospital. According to the ministry, 153 of them are being treated in intensive care units.
The province did not provide a breakdown of vaccination status based on data from the weekend, but said that from October 4 to 10, people who had not received the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine accounted for 73 , 7% of people hospitalized.
As of the province’s last release, 82.6 percent of eligible British Columbians had received both injections and 88.8 percent had received at least one.
With files from Alyse Kotyk from CTV News Vancouver