British Columbia health officials announced 78 new COVID-19 patients on Thursday, a day after they had recorded 85 cases.
The 163 cases are the most the province has ever reported in a two-day stretch since the start of the pandemic.
In B.C., there have been 4,274 total cases of COVID-19. Of those, 3,500 people have recovered, while 578 are now considered active, the most since May 8.
On Thursday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry shared data that illustrates the worrisome trends that have been developing in the province over the last few weeks.
“What this shows us is that we are on an upward trajectory that is concerning,” said Henry. “But it’s not a predictive model, it doesn’t tell us what’s going to happen. It tells us what can happen. Right now we have it within our ability to make the changes we need to bend that curve back down.”
Henry said that the province is most likely near the 70 per cent normal contact rate scenario. According to CBC, officials advised residents to keep contacts to 60 per cent or lower when the province entered Phase 3 of its reopening plan in late June.
The province’s top doctor advises people to continue to wear masks, stay away from others when sick, and to not attend areas with large numbers of people in order to limit contacts.
Most new patients in B.C. are now linked to local cases and known clusters, compared to earlier stages of the pandemic when there was a higher proportion of people who were believed to have been infected due to international travel.
The age demographics have also changed.
“We started to see a rapid increase in the last few weeks in younger people,” said Henry. “That’s reflected in some of the numbers that we’re seeing as well as the discussion we’ve had over the last few weeks of exposure events, particularly social events, parties and get-togethers where younger people are coming together and the virus is being spread.”