People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 2,398 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Editor’s note: The B.C. health ministry made an error in reporting Fraser Health data between Nov.17 and Nov. 24. This story originally reflected the data officials released on Nov. 23; it has now been updated with the new daily cases and Fraser Health numbers.

The province has recorded another 2,398 COVID-19 cases over the weekend, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a briefing on Monday (Nov. 23).

By day, that breaks down to 835 cases from Friday to Saturday, 791 cases from Saturday to Sunday and 772 cases from Sunday to Monday. There have been 17 deaths, which brings the total pandemic death toll in B.C. to 348. More than half of the weekend’s cases were in Fraser Health.

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care. In total, there have been 27,407 total cases of COVID-19 in B.C. since the pandemic began, of which 7,360 are currently active and 19,069 people who have fully recovered. There are more than 10,000 people under active public health monitoring.

With six new health-care outbreaks, there are now a total of 60 facilities affected. Of those, the 54 outbreaks in long-term care are the most worrying, Henry said, because seniors make up the majority of the fatalities. Two other health-care facility outbreaks have been declared over.

Henry said that a growth in health care outbreaks is linked to how much of the virus there is in the community, as employees inadvertently bring COVID-19 into vulnerable care homes.

“People don’t recognize they have symptoms or they’re at work 24 hours before the symptoms start,” she said.

Hospitalizations surged over the weekend, going up by 50 since Friday’s update. Hospitalizations – as well as deaths – are considered a lagging indicator of an uptick in COVID-19 cases, with those reported Monday likely resulting from high case counts in recent days and weeks.

Henry said that it was time to buckle down as infections and deaths remain high.

“I’m asking you to put the safety measures at the top of your list every day,” she said, asking people not to look for loopholes or shortcuts in the orders announced last week.

“We will never be able to get rid of all those restrictions… until we have a vaccine available, but we can look to a future in weeks and months when we can have more interactions.”

There is currently a mask mandate in B.C., as well as a ban on gatherings until Dec. 7. All events have been cancelled or suspended, while people have been asked to stick only to their household or core bubble for social gatherings, including when eating out at bars and restaurants.

READ MORE: What do rising COVID-19 positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

READ MORE: 6 things you need to know about B.C.’s latest COVID-19 health orders

READ MORE: Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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