BC COVID-19 hospitalizations climbing

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The number of hospitalizations in BC due to COVID-19 continues to grow, with health authorities reporting 58 Monday.

This is an increase of nine from Friday’s number, and there are an additional six people in intensive care for a total of 16.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said she hopes hospitalizations won’t rise to highs recorded earlier in the pandemic, and that the healthcare system isn’t currently being overwhelmed.

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“We need to be able to provide that care for everybody that needs it, but we need to do our best to prevent transmissions to people who are more likely to end up in hospital or ICU,” she said.

Henry also announced 317 new cases over the weekend, including four that are epidemiologically linked. Of the weekend’s cases, 137 were reported from Friday to Saturday, 119 from Saturday to Sunday and an additional 61 since midday Sunday. The Friday to Saturday total is the second-highest daily increase since the pandemic began.

BC has now passed the 7,000 mark of cases, with today’s total sitting at 7,279. There are 1,594 active cases across the province, and 3,047 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of exposure to a known case.

Henry said about 70 per cent of new cases are known contacts of existing cases. Unlinked cases being transmitted in the community account for less than 20 per cent of new cases.

After several days with no new deaths, six people sadly passed away over the weekend, five of whom were living in longterm care. This number also includes the province’s first death in the Northern Health region. BC has now recorded a total of 219 deaths related to COVID-19.

On a more hopeful note, there were no new healthcare outbreaks announced and four existing outbreaks were declared over: Holy Family Hospital in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and MSA Manor, Czorny Alzheimer Centre and George Derby Centre all in the Fraser Health region. There are 13 active outbreaks that continue in the healthcare system.

There were no new community outbreaks announced, and the outbreak related to a cluster of cases at Okanagan Correctional Centre was declared over. Community exposure events continue to occur across the province.

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“COVID-19 has not left us, and it has required all of us to adjust our daily activities to ensure that we’re doing what we need to do to keep those we are closest to and our communities safe,” says Henry.

She noted that the wildfire smoke currently blanketing parts of BC affects some people more than others, and these are often the same groups of people who are most adversely affected by COVID-19. As a result, Henry recommended avoiding outdoor exercise until the skies clear and keeping indoor exercise to low intensity, and said wearing a mask—especially a tight-fitting one—can help with smoke inhalation.

Some people may be feeling confused about the difference between symptoms of wildfire smoke versus symptoms of COVID, said Henry. While symptoms like a dry cough, runny eyes and irritation can be associated with smoky skies or COVID-19, other symptoms are more indicative of the latter, including fever, chills, aches and what Henry called a “productive cough.” Both Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix recommended staying away from others and getting tested if experiencing concerning symptoms, as well as sticking to small groups of no more than six people.

For a list of community exposure events, click here.

For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and testing, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.

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