Active COVID-19 infections in B.C. top 1,800 for first time

Number of active COVID-19 infections in B.C. is up more than six times since the end of July

The steady rise in the number of British Columbians suffering with COVID-19 infections continued on September 18, with the government revealing that 1,803 people have the deadly virus. That is more than six times the 278 people provincewide who had active infections at the end of July.

The number of active infections was helped by another day with a substantial number of new cases. There were 139 new infections detected by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) overnight. That is the second largest number of new infections that the province has reported within a 24-hour period, following the record 165 new daily cases reported yesterday. The rise in new cases has come with an increase in testing. 

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The province also added 40 new cases that it called "historical," which were for people that tested positive between August 11 and September 16 but did not have personal health numbers. As a result they had not previously been added into the province's official data, provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement.

The vast majority of those infected are self-isolating at home, although 59 people are sick enough to be in hospital, and 20 of those individuals are in intensive care units. 

Three people have newly passed away from the disease, making the province's death toll 223 since the first death was reported on March 9.

There are now 5,797 people who have recovered. Recovery information remains unclear in 19 cases, many of which could be people who were infected in B.C. and left the province without keeping health officials up to date on their status. 

The total number of COVID-19 infections in the province is now up to 7,842, and the breakdown by health region is:
• 2,817 in Vancouver Coastal Health (up 103);
• 4,007 in Fraser Health (up 70);
• 196 in Island Health (no change);
• 492 in Interior Health (up three);
• 244 in Northern Health (up three); and
• 86 people who reside outside Canada (no change).

"There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks, and the outbreak at Royal Arch Masonic Home long-term care facility (second outbreak) has been declared over," Henry and Dix said.

That leaves 10 long-term care, or assisted-living facilities, with active outbreaks. They are:
• OPAL by Element assisted living facility in Vancouver;
• Point Grey Private Hospital long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Bear Creek Villa independent living facility in Surrey;
• Cherington Place long-term care facility in Surrey;
• Evergreen Hamlets long-term care facility in Surrey;
• KinVillage assisted living facility in Tsawwassen;
• Milieu Children and Family Services Society community-living facility in Courtenay;
• New Vista Care Home long-term care facility in Burnaby;
• Normanna long-term care facility in Burnaby; and
• Rideau Retirement Centre independent living facility in Burnaby.

Five acute-care facilities also have active outbreaks, Dix and Henry said, without specifying those locations.

"There have been no new community outbreaks, although there continue to be community exposure events," they said. 

"For schools, public health teams will contact individuals through contact tracing. Schools will continue to issue alerts when a school exposure has occurred and action is required. Supporting these protocols, the BCCDC website and health authorities are also publishing notifications.”

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom 

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