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B.C. records 200th coronavirus death, 80 new cases

Click to play video 'B.C. health officials report 200th COVID-19 death, 80 new cases' B.C. health officials report 200th COVID-19 death, 80 new cases
Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson reports 80 new cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia on Thursday, August 17. The province also reached a somber milestone with it's 200th death from the virus since the outbreak began – Aug 20, 2020

British Columbia reached a somber milestone Thursday, reporting its 200th death from COVID-19.

Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson announced two new deaths at a media briefing, along with 80 new cases of the virus.

Both deaths were in long-term care in the Fraser Health region.

The number of active cases fell to 780, after reaching a new record of 798 a day earlier.

Click to play video 'What B.C.’s August COVID-19 data shows public health officials' What B.C.’s August COVID-19 data shows public health officials
What B.C.’s August COVID-19 data shows public health officials – Aug 20, 2020

But 2,574 people remain in self-isolation, as new public exposures continue to be announced on a near-daily basis.

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“The number of people in isolation reflects the type of places where the exposure has occurred, and the number of people who have been identified,” said Gustafson.

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“The two notable things about these gatherings are crowding and in some cases alcohol.”

New cases remain driven by younger adults, she added.

As exposures increase, the number of British Columbians calling the 811 public health line has also begun to climb again.

That service answered more than 5,000 calls in a single day back in March and climbed back to 2,700 on Wednesday, said Health Minister Adrian Dix.

“I wouldn’t say the number of calls is anything like at the height of the pandemic in March, but it reflects the fact that public health is there to support people,” said Dix.

Click to play video 'Number of British Columbians calling the 811 public health line on the rise again' Number of British Columbians calling the 811 public health line on the rise again
Number of British Columbians calling the 811 public health line on the rise again – Aug 20, 2020

However, Dix rejected concerns that B.C. is not testing enough people. The province has the capacity to test about 8,000 people a day, he said, though only about 4,200 were tested in the last 24 hours.

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“If the public demand is 1,800 tests a day you don’t want to have people there prepared to do 5,000, you want those things to work in concert, and that’s what’s happening,” he said.

The community outbreak on Haida Gwaii was declared over, Thursday, however a new community outbreak involving nine people was been reported at a Loblaws warehouse in Surrey.

Eleven people were in hospital, including four in critical care.

Nearly 80 per cent of B.C.’s total 4,825 COVID-19 cases have recovered.

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How B.C. wildfire evacuation protocols are impacted by COVID-19 – Aug 20, 2020