British Columbia reported a troubling spike in new coronavirus cases Friday, as the province gears up for the B.C. Day long weekend.
The province confirmed 50 new cases of the virus, along with one new death at the Holy Family Hospital long-term care home in Vancouver. Five of the cases are epi-linked.
Twenty-four of the new cases are in the Fraser Health region, 12 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, nine are in the Interior Health region, two are in the Northern Health Region, one is on Vancouver Island and two are people from out of country.
It’s the second time in as many weeks that the number of new cases has topped 50, while the daily average has hovered around 30 in the weeks since B.C. entered Phase 3 of its reopening plan.
Much of the growth in new cases in recent weeks has been tied to an ongoing outbreak in Kelowna — linked to private parties over the Canada Day long weekend — and an outbreak at a Fraser Valley fruit packing plant.
Many of the new cases have also involved younger people, in their 20s to 40s.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix pleaded with British Columbians on Thursday to play it safe over the coming long weekend by keeping gatherings small and reducing contact with people outside their household bubble.
On Friday, the province released a website titled “Dr. Bonnie Henry’s Good Times Guide,” aimed at helping people recreate in a safe manner during the pandemic.
The province also implemented new restrictions on vacation rental properties earlier this week in a bid to cut the risk of transmission.
The province also announced one new health-care outbreak Friday, at the Dania Home in the Fraser Health region.
B.C. has now reported 3,641 cases of COVID-19, while 3,138 patients (about 88 per cent) have recovered.
Five people remained in hospital Friday, two of them in critical care, and 278 cases remain active.
B.C.’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 195.