British Columbia’s COVID-19 surge continued to shatter records Thursday, as the province reported 1,293 new cases and two new deaths.
It brought the seven-day rolling average for new cases over 1,000 for the first time during the pandemic.
At a live briefing, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there were 9,184 active cases, and a record 15,203 people in isolation due to possible exposure.
“We have strict orders about not socializing with people outside your household. It is not OK to have friends and family over right now, it is putting them at risk. It is not OK to go on a weekend getaway. That is not essential. Nor is your ski trip just because you have a pass,” Henry said.
“It is not OK right now to have a wedding, a birthday, any of these ceremonies where come together because we are putting people at risk, and those people are the ones we are closest to. All of these need to be postponed for now.”
The number of cases in the Lower Mainland continues to soar, with 448 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 645 in the Fraser Health region. Sixty-nine were on Vancouver Island, 80 were in the Interior Health region, and 51 were in the Northern Health region.
With the surging number of COVID-19 variant of concern cases, Henry also said the province would cease tracking individual variant cases, and proceed on the assumption that the variants are now dominant in community transmission.
“Our strategy moving forward, given this high rate of (variants of concern) that we’re seeing in British Columbia, will be to no longer routinely sequence for confirmation. We just assume those screened positives will be the variants,” she said.
“We assume anyone who is positive for COVID-19 needs to be treated as if they have one of these highly transmissible viruses.”
A portion of all positive cases will be sequenced for surveillance so the province can track changes in the virus in the community over time, she said. The province will also focus its energy on monitoring returning travellers, cases of reinfection and potential vaccine failure.
There were 336 people in hospital — 101 of whom were in intensive care.
B.C. has administered a total of 995,001 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
The province has recorded 108,278 total cases and 1,493 deaths.