Health officials on Tuesday reported 146 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. over the past four days and no new deaths.
There were 43 cases from Friday to Saturday, 29 cases Saturday to Sunday, and 46 from Sunday to Monday, and 28 from Monday to Tuesday.
B.C.’s confirmed cases now total 3,787. Of those, 3,273 patients have fully recovered, or about 86 per cent.
“There have been a number of new cases over the long weekend,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.
“This was not unexpected. We knew that events that had happened in the previous couple of weeks would lead to more people who had been exposed developing illness.”
There are now 319 active cases in the province — an increase of 41 since Friday.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the bulk of the province’s active cases are in the Metro Vancouver area — 195 in Fraser Health and 78 in Vancouver Coastal Health.
Officials are also reporting an uptick in hospitalizations. Eight COVID-19 patients are in hospital — an increase of three since Friday. The number of patients in intensive care has doubled from two to four.
The province’s last update came Friday, when it announced 50 new cases of the virus, along with one new death at the Holy Family Hospital long-term care home in Vancouver.
That marked the second time in as many weeks that the number of new cases hit 50, while the daily average has hovered around 30 in the weeks since B.C. entered Phase 3 of its economic reopening plan on June 24.
Much of the growth in new cases stems from an ongoing outbreak in Kelowna connected with private parties that were held over the Canada Day long weekend.
Henry said 74 cases are connected to an outbreak at a Fraser Valley fruit-packing plant and 24 cases are linked to an outbreak in Haida Gwaii.
She says public health workers are tracing the contacts of almost all the new cases, which is possible because transmission remains low.
She says common factors in many of the latest cases include talking, laughing and sharing drinks and food, especially in indoor settings, as well as spending time in crowded areas.
Dix urged residents not to attend private parties and gatherings after recent increases in the number of COVID-19 cases across the province.
Henry said public health officials want to ensure the virus doesn’t spread unchecked.
“Thankfully, most of our cases, the vast majority of them, we are able to find out where you’ve been exposed, and we know that many of those are overlapping social circles, where private parties over the period of the last few weeks have led to people passing it to their friends and family,” Henry said.
She went on to say the days following a long weekend can be a time when people unknowingly spread the virus to others.
“The next two weeks are important for all of us,” she said. “Coming out of this B.C. Day long weekend, we all need to pay attention to how we are feeling. We cannot go to work if we’re not feeling well.”
The province also released a website on Friday titled “Dr. Bonnie Henry’s Good Times Guide,” in a bid to help people safely enjoy their summer.
— With files from Simon Little