The BC recorded another 13 deaths from COVID-19 and 738 new cases of the disease, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced on Wednesday.
It marks the highest total day-to-day deaths in BC since the pandemic began.
The number of people hospitalized with the disease continues to break new records, with yet another high of 294 patients, 61 of whom are in intensive care. Across the province, there are now 7,616 active cases of the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Henry reminded everyone of the province’s restrictions on social interactions that prohibit any meeting with people other than his immediate home.
“It is important for all of us to stay in the same bubble,” she said.
Health Minister Adrian Dix offered a simple rule to determine whether an activity is safe now: “When in doubt, discard it.”
To date, 29,086 cases of the virus have been confirmed in BC, including 371 people who have died. There are currently 10,270 people isolated and under active monitoring by public health professionals due to close contact with known cases.
There were no new outbreaks in the health care system, and an outbreak at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster was declared closed. There are currently 52 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living and five in hospitals.
This includes a outbreak at Burnaby Hospital, where 55 patients tested positive for the disease and five people died.
Preparation for a vaccine is underway
Asked on Wednesday whether the BC did enough to prepare for the second wave of the pandemic, Henry acknowledged that there were setbacks, including challenges in obtaining accurate tests and the reagents needed for them.
“I don’t think we’re at the point where I can say that we should have done one thing or another. I was surprised at how quickly in the fall we started to see the increase,” she said.
She also spoke about the planning that is underway in terms of what will happen when a vaccine becomes available, and said that the BC Center for Disease Control is working with the federal government on an implementation.
“We want to get you to the right people at the right time – safely. We are all very focused on who is most at risk and how we can better protect them, ”she said.
According to her, the goal is to have everything ready for the vaccine to be delivered by the first week of January.
Data error responsible for the big peak on Tuesday
During Wednesday’s update, Henry also revealed previous errors in data collection for Fraser Health in the past few days.
As a result, the record of 941 new cases reported on Tuesday was actually a mistake – the correct number is 706 new cases across the province on Tuesday. Of these, 443 cases occurred at Fraser Health, representing 62 percent of new cases across the province, not the 72 percent that were reported.
The overall result of the errors is an increase of around 255 in the total number of new cases between 16 and 24 November.
Wednesday’s figures come after health officials stricter restrictions Tuesday for some fitness centers, ordering dance studios, yoga studios, fitness centers and other spaces that offer group fitness activities to temporarily suspend these activities in BC
Henry noted on Wednesday that BC is implementing $ 230 fines for anyone who refuses to comply with an order to wear masks in indoor public and retail spaces.
“It is one of the important steps we can take, but not everyone can wear a mask,” noted Henry.
She said it may not be obvious that someone has a disability that affects their ability to wear a mask, and efforts should be made to accommodate those who cannot wear facial covers. But the fine and police powers are meant to help deal with those who become belligerent when ordered to use one.
“I don’t have time for people who believe that wearing a mask in some way makes them sick or represents a lack of freedom. It’s a sign of respect,” said Henry.