B.C.’s provincial health officer on Monday reported 267 new cases of COVID-19 over a three-day period as well as three new deaths.
Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed 68 cases from Friday to Saturday, 125 cases from Saturday to Sunday, and 74 cases from Sunday to Monday. Ten of the cases were epi-linked.
More than 21,000 tests were conducted over the three-day period, with a test positivity rate of 1.23 per cent.
Henry said the percentage of positive tests indicates that the province is giving tests to people who need them, and that rates of community transmission are still relatively low.
The three new deaths — one in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, another in Fraser Health, and the third in Island Health — bring the province’s COVID-19 death toll to 233.
The daily number of new cases is down by nearly 100 from last Monday, when the province recorded 366 new cases over three days.
There has also been a decline in the number of active cases in B.C. The province reported 1,302 active cases on Monday, a 34-per-cent decrease from the same time last week when there were 1,987 active cases. Much of that drop came following a delay in reporting from Vancouver Coastal Health.
There are 69 COVID-19 patients in hospital, the highest total since May 10.
The number of people in intensive care rose by three to 22.
In total, B.C. has confirmed 8,908 cases of COVID-19. Of those, 7,346 cases have recovered, or about 82 per cent.
More than 3,300 people are in self-isolation due to potential exposure.
The numbers come as Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Monday that his province is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19.
The Quebec government has also moved three regions, including greater Montreal and Quebec City, to its highest COVID-19 alert level, imposing new restrictions on residents and businesses as cases climb. Premier Francois Legault said the measures will take effect Oct. 1 and be in place for 28 days.
Henry urged British Columbians to remain vigilant about social contacts ahead of Thanksgiving and Halloween next month.
“Contact tracing has shown that the main source of COVID-19 transmission in British Columbia now continues to be through events where we’re socializing with others, whether in a private home or a less-controlled setting,” she said.
“We know that important ceremonies — important events like weddings, birthdays, funerals and parties — have been driving this in the last few weeks.”
While there have been several exposures at B.C. schools, no transmission events or outbreaks have occurred in schools, Henry added.
Health authorities are also going to “consistently” post notifications of schools, she said.
The comments come after Vancouver Coastal Health’s chief medical health officer defended its policy to notify the public of school exposures only when necessary, in a bid to protect those who contract the coronavirus from being stigmatized. Other health authorities are posting all school exposures online.
When asked about reports of students gathering in large groups off school grounds, Henry acknowledged that adjusting to school during a pandemic is challenging, but said students need to understand the importance of keeping social circles as small as possible.
“There has been some transmission in groups of children — young people who have been hanging out together outside of the school setting, and it affects the whole school community,” she said.
“So parents and young people, let’s support each other to stay small.”
— With files from Simon Little and The Canadian Press