British Columbia health officials announced that they’ve identified 236 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend. That includes 100 daily cases that were identified in the 24-hour stretch between Friday and Saturday, which is a record-high one-day spike.
The previous daily record was 95 cases on April 25.
The latest update also increases the province’s active case count to 743, which surpasses its previous record-high of 724, which was set on April 26. British Columbia has seen its active cases rise on an upward trajectory as of late, considering there were 207 active cases in the province on July 17, and 185 on June 17.
Health officials have attributed the rise to an increase in gatherings, especially among young people under 40 years old.
“The places where there’s the greatest danger is our private parties, where alcohol is involved and it’s inside,” said minister of health Adrian Dix on Monday. “Don’t hold private parties. Watch the Canucks with your bubble in the Stanley Cup run.”
Dix said that the province is now working to take further steps to impose stricter penalties when there are large gatherings, with B.C. having a limit of 50-people for both indoor and outdoor events. The province’s solicitor general is expected to make an announcement later this week.
Exposures due to gatherings have been a key concern for B.C. ever since two hotel parties around Canada Day in Kelowna led to dozens of cases around the province, as well as possible exposure warnings for a variety of businesses. Officials continue to ask B.C. residents to check the growing list of public exposure warnings as part of contact tracing efforts.
On late-Friday, Vancouver police broke up an impromptu street party downtown, after a group of people had set up speakers that attracted dozens of revellers . One of the latest COVID-19 exposure warnings was also released by Northern Health after it identified 17 cases linked to a faith-based event in Deadwood, Alta. People who attended the event between July 30-Aug. 2 are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
Currently in B.C., there are 2,282 people who are self-isolating and are being actively monitored by public health, since they were in contact with a known COVID-19 patient.
“We do have an increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia, and the majority of new infections in B.C. at this time are among young adults,” said deputy provincial health officer Dr. Réka Gustafson.
“This tells us that we have done today a relatively good job of protecting the most vulnerable. But we are also reporting some new outbreaks in long-term care facilities, and that’s a really important reminder for us all that the risks to vulnerable citizens of British Columbia remains.”
Along with the 100 cases that were identified between Friday and Saturday, there were 88 new cases between Saturday and Sunday, and 48 between Sunday and Monday.
B.C. health officials also announced two new health-care outbreaks in the Czorny Alzheimer Centre in the Fraser Health region and at the Arbutus Care Centre in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. There are now 10 health-care outbreaks, with nine of them involving long-term care facilities in the province.
Two more people have also died over the weekend in Fraser Health, which includes one person in a long-term care home.
In positive news, the Joseph and Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre has been declared over, while there are now only four people who are hospitalized in B.C., which includes three in intensive care.
Throughout the pandemic, there have been 4,594 cases in British Columbia. That includes 3,653 who have fully recovered and 198 fatalities.