British Columbia’s COVID-19 caseload continued to surge on Tuesday after health officials announced another 46 infections.
The latest update from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix brings the total number of cases identified locally since the start of the pandemic to 4,111.
The number of active cases has also increased to 472, which is the highest it’s been since topping 500 in mid-May. There are now more active cases per capita in B.C. than Ontario.
With several weeks left in summer, Henry and Dix urged British Columbians to act responsibly and do their part to force the province’s epidemiological curve back down.
“What we do each day protects us, our families and friends and our communities. Let’s continue to work together to bend the curve, not the rules,” they said in a joint written statement.
That means maintaining proper hygiene, wearing masks when physical distancing isn’t possible, limiting social interactions to small and consistent groups, and staying home when feeling unwell.
Officials also stressed the importance of having a designated “contact keeper” to gather contact information on everyone present at every gathering, which buys crucial time for the public health teams tasked with tracking people down after a potential COVID-19 exposure.
Fortunately, despite the increase in cases, B.C. has not recorded any more coronavirus fatalities since Monday’s briefing, leaving the death toll at 195. There have now been 11 reporting periods without a COVID-19 death in the province.
The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 also dropped to eight, from nine, though the number of patients in intensive care or critical care units increased to five, from three.
Another 19 people have also been declared COVID-free, for a total of 3,444 recoveries across B.C.
Officials had no new outbreaks to report, and said the community outbreak at the Krazy Cherry Fruit Co. farm in the Okanagan has been declared over.
Public health teams are still responding to a number of exposure events in the province, however, and there are still eight active outbreaks in the health system, most at long-term care homes and assisted living facilities.
Henry and Dix said keeping the caseload down will be especially important as B.C. heads into the new school year.
“As we look to fall, what we’ve learned from other jurisdictions is that transmission in a school setting is a reflection of what’s happening in our communities; keeping our community transmission low and slow keeps us all safe,” they said.
Earlier in the day, Education Minister Rob Fleming revealed the start of the school year will be delayed from the previously announced date of Sept. 8 so that teachers can adequately prepare for the new health and safety protocols.