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B.C. sets new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, adds 1,130 cases over 2 days

Click to play video 'B.C. sets another one-day record for new COVID-19 cases' B.C. sets another one-day record for new COVID-19 cases
B.C. sets another one-day record for new COVID-19 cases – Nov 12, 2020

More British Columbians are now hospitalized with COVID-19 than at any time in the pandemic so far.

At her Thursday briefing, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said 155 people were in hospital with the virus. The previous record of 149 was recorded in the first week of April.

Read more: B.C. on track to see 1,000 new COVID-19 cases a day if changes not made: Modelling numbers

Forty-four people were in critical or intensive care.

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How will Christmas be impacted by COVID-19 in B.C.? – Nov 12, 2020

The province added 1,130 cases over two days, 536 on Wednesday and 594 on Thursday — the latter also an all-time record.

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There were four new deaths, bringing the total to 288.

Most of the cases were in the Fraser Health region (808) and Vancouver Coastal Health region (249). Sixteen were on Vancouver Island, 34 were in the Interior Health region and 23 were in the Northern Health region.

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Health Minister Adrian Dix said B.C. still had 2,185 vacant hospital beds and 375 critical care beds to deal with a potential surge in cases, though acknowledged they were not spread evenly around the province.

“We are obviously making more adjustments in particular right now, because of demand in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health authorities were 153 of the 155 hospitalized people are,” he said.

Last Thursday, Henry said the province had no immediate plans to cancel surgeries amid rising hospitalizations, saying the health-care system was “well within” its planned ability to respond to new cases.

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If COVID-19 numbers get down to ‘reasonable level’, restrictions in B.C. could ease slightly – Nov 12, 2020

Read more: New restrictions announced for Alberta as 860 COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths reported Thursday

There was a record of 5,793 active cases Thursday. And a record 11,091 people were isolating due to possible exposure, a jump of 1,300 in just two days.

Henry said contact tracers were still able to reconstruct the chains of virus transmission “relatively quickly,” but warned the surge in new cases was proving troublesome.

“I will say that with our rapid increase in numbers of people affected by COVID-19 in recent weeks, this has been put in jeopardy,” she said.

“Our ability in public health to find everybody in a timely way, particularly in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health regions has been stretched to the max and we are falling a little bit behind, which is why we put in the measures we put in.”

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The province conducted 12,442 tests overnight, and Dix said B.C. had a capacity to conduct about 18,000 in a day.

“We expect shortly to meet the 20,000 that we promised in September,” he said.

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‘It’s not a silver bullet’: Dr. Bonnie Henry explains again why face masks are not mandatory in B.C – Nov 12, 2020

Read more: These posters show how a wedding, fitness class and worksite became superspreader events in B.C.

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Henry said as of Nov. 5, there had been 261 exposure in B.C.’s 1,942 schools, but fewer than a dozen recorded cases of transmission in the school setting.

“What that tells us is that the measures we have in place, particularly screening out people who are ill, catching them early, reducing the probability of transmissions in schools is working,” Henry said.

“Nine in 10 schools have not had a school exposure event.”

There were six new health-care outbreaks, including one at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. Three were declared over.

Sixty-nine per cent of B.C.’s 20,368 cases have recovered.