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B.C. records highest ever daily COVID-19 case number, two new deaths over weekend

Click to play video 'B.C. health officials announce 236 new COVID-19 cases over 72-hour period, two additional deaths' B.C. health officials announce 236 new COVID-19 cases over 72-hour period, two additional deaths
Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson reports 238 cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia on Monday, August 17 for three reporting periods.

B.C. has reached a grim milestone with the highest ever daily number of confirmed COVID-19 cases so far.

One hundred people tested positive for the coronavirus from midday Friday to midday Saturday, breaking the previous highs set on April 25 and Aug. 13, with 95 and 93 cases respectively.

From midday Saturday to midday Sunday, 88 cases were recorded in the province, with another 48 in the most recent 24 hours. It brings B.C’s total to 236 new cases over three days.

Two more people have also died from the virus, bringing the province’s death total to 198. Both of the people who died were in the Fraser Health region.

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Northern Health Authority report 10 cases of COVID-19 linked to Alberta prayer event

Four people remain in hospital, with three in the ICU.

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In total, there have now been 4,594 cases in the province, with 3,653 people who have recovered.

Most of the cases are in the Fraser Health region. Seventy-four cases were from outside Canada.

Meanwhile, 743 cases are still active and 2,286 people remain in isolation.

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Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is on vacation this week, so Health Minister Adrian Dix was joined by Dr. Réka Gustafson, deputy provincial health officer and vice-president of the Provincial Health Services Authority.

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Read more: List of recent coronavirus exposures reported in B.C.

Gustafson said the majority of new cases recorded over the weekend were among young people.

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She said everyone needs to be aware that young people can pass the virus to other, more vulnerable people, and that a young person may not even show symptoms before passing it on to someone else.

“You may feel well enough to see friends and go into work but the bar for going to gatherings or going out needs to be very very low,” Gustafson added.

Click to play video 'B.C. health minister warns of ‘consequences’ for private parties, banquet halls not following COVID measures' B.C. health minister warns of ‘consequences’ for private parties, banquet halls not following COVID measures
B.C. health minister warns of ‘consequences’ for private parties, banquet halls not following COVID measures

“This pandemic will not end soon,” Dix said Monday.

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“This new normal is going to be in place for a long time.”

Officials have warned that if British Columbia continues on this trend, there will soon be more new cases of COVID-19 than at the pandemic’s previous peak.

The province’s latest modelling numbers, released last week, showed that cases will continue to rise into September if people don’t change their behaviour.

Henry said last week that the biggest concern continues to be indoor private parties and gatherings with people from outside their bubble.

“There’s some people out there who are trying to skirt the rules. They’re trying to find ways to get around things and hide things and we are trying to find them,” she said.

This past weekend, public health officials visited 128 banquet facilities.

Six banquet halls were a “subject of concern”, said Dix and public health officials will be following up with those businesses to make sure proper COVID-19 rules are being followed.