Dr. Bonnie Henry provided her monthly update of COVID-19 cases within BC this afternoon, announcing that there were 1,130 new cases of the virus within the province over the past two days, as there was no update provided on Remembrance Day.
Of those 1,130 new cases, 34 were in the Interior Health Region.
There have been four new deaths and 44 people are currently in intensive care.
Dr. Henry warned that the dramatic increase in cases that BC has seen in the last few weeks has been a result of socialization without proper COVID-19 precautions.
“Right now, a lot of the focus of transmission in our communities, particularly in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal region is because of our social interactions, whether it’s in the community or at our home,” said Dr. Henry.
In the course of her presentation, Dr. Henry outlined two situations where a single exposure event had resulted in extensive spread of the novel coronavirus in a cascade effect.
At a wedding, where one guest was unknowingly carrying the virus, 50 wedding guests were exposed. Of those, 15 people became positive, and exposure to those people, a further ten households were affected, requiring 37 people to isolate at home for two weeks. One of those people worked in a long-term care home where an outbreak was then declared, causing 81 of the residents to be tested and self-isolate in their rooms for 14 days. Three people were admitted to hospital and one person died.
“There were things that we could get away with in the summer, probably because of the seasonality of this virus,” said Dr. Henry.
“We’re learning that it doesn’t spread as well when temperatures are warmer when humidity is lower, but as we move into what we call our respiratory season, our cough and flu season we’re finding that this virus finds it easier to transmit. Partly because we’re indoors more but also because the climate conditions make it easier for the virus to spread.”
Dr. Henry also explained that it is becoming increasingly difficult to perform contact tracing and manage numbers quickly and effectively, which has resulted in an increase of hospitalizations.
Those at the highest risk continue to be the elderly, with the median age of those who have died of COVID-19 being 85.
There has been a lot of speculation about schools reopening and students returning to class, but according to Dr. Henry “very few transmissions or exposure events” come from schools or daycares.
Health care workers continue to be at a higher risk than the general population, with one in ten of those who test positive for COVID-19 identifying as health care workers, the majority of which were nurses (215) or care aides (201),
An updated map which indicates positive cases in BC on a more specific scale, shows that 27 people within the Merritt area tested positive for COVID-19 from Jan. 2020 to Oct, 2020.
Dr. Henry continues to advise against all unnecessary travel, particularly to the hard hit Lower Mainland.