British Columbia reported 234 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the ninth consecutive day the province has added more than 200 cases to its total.
At a briefing in Surrey, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix also reported one new death, bringing B.C.’s death toll to 262.
The person who died was a senior who became infected at a small birthday party with fewer than 10 attendees, Henry said.
Thursday’s briefing took place in Surrey, reflecting that the bulk of B.C.’s new cases have been recorded in the Fraser Health region.
“Many of the new cases we have today are directly linked to gatherings in our homes and elsewhere, and are now resulting in community transmission of COVID-19 across the province,” Henry said.
“This has been particularly the case in the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley.”
Of the new cases, 173 were in the Fraser Health region, and 43 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. Interior and Northern Health each reported seven new cases, while Island Health reported three.
Active cases remained relatively steady since the start of the week, edging slightly upward overnight to 2,344.
However the number of people in isolation due to possible exposure continued its upward climb, reaching a new record of 5,714.
Henry urged people to stick to small groups, with a preference to immediate family only and to gather outdoors in in a place such as a restaurant with a COVID-19 safety plan in place.
She reminded people if they are visiting with their so-called safe six” of close contacts, that they ensure they are consistently the same six people.
“That means no Halloween parties this weekend,” Henry said.
“This is because many of the things we do at parties and celebrations, things like talking and hugging and eating and drinking together indoors are much, much riskier.”
Eighty-six people were in hospital, 24 of them in critical or intensive care. Four new outbreaks were reported in long-term care homes, while three were declared over.
The province is slated to deliver an update next week on its efforts to hire new long-term care home staff, Dix said, and was working towards easing restrictions on visitors to the facilities.
“It’s an extraordinary effort and we’ve had an extraordinary response from people,” Dix said of the hiring initiative.