FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. sees record-breaking daily COVID infections with 499 new cases over weekend

Two people, both in the Lower Mainland, died due to the virus over the weekend

Interior Health reported 21 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend, bringing the total case-count in the region since the pandemic began to 611. British Columbia as a whole recorded 499 new cases and two more deaths as of Monday, Oct. 19.

The province saw two days of record-breaking cases, as the province reported 172 new cases from Friday to Saturday and then reached a new high with 174 cases from Sunday to Monday. Saturday to Sunday saw 153 new cases.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the two weekend deaths were in Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health, as she reminded British Columbians that “the virus has not gone away.”

There are currently 1639 active cases, while the total number of infections since the pandemic began is at 11,687. With the two new weekend dates, the death toll from the virus is at 253. There are 4,028 people being monitored by public health and 67 people in hospital, 19 of whom are in ICU.

The province reported four new health-care facility outbreaks, while two other had ended. In total, B.C. has 17 active outbreaks at long-term care centres and two more at acute care facilities. There have been no widespread outbreaks in schools, Henry added.

Henry, who has implored British Columbians to “be kind, be calm and be safe” added a fourth point to the oft-repeated refrain: “Be brave,” she urged, as Canada hit a grim milestone of 200,000 cases.

“What you are doing is making a difference,” Henry said.

As Ontario and Quebec continue to drive the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, Henry said that B.C.’s comparatively lower case count means that “the vast majority of people are still taking [COVID-19 measures] to heart.”

Henry said that she still believed this despite recent anti-mask rallies in Vancouver and other parts of B.C.

“Sometimes, when there’s challenges that you don’t understand, some people’s reaction is to go along with the conspiracy theories that are out there,” noting that political rhetoric from the U.S. has had an influence in Canada as well. “

“They’re taking a lot of the strategies that some of the anti-vaccine activists are using and applying it to masks,” she said.

Even with record-breaking case counts, Henry said she would not tell parents to keep their children home from trick-or-treating on Halloween the way health officials have in some parts of Ontario.

The beloved childhood activity takes place in “relatively low-risk environments,” she added. For families who are at higher risk, Henry said an in-home candy hunt and watching a scary movie could be a good way to still let kids experience the fun of Halloween in a year where many celebrations haven’t looked the way they usually do.

READ MORE: Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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