The province’s top doctor is reporting 1,293 new cases, a new single-day record, and two deaths from COVID-19 since their last update on Tuesday.
The previous record was set over the Easter long weekend, when the province reported 1,077 new cases between Friday and Saturday. Between Monday and Tuesday, 1,068 new cases were reported.
The number of confirmed cases in B.C. climbs to 108,278 while the province’s death toll now stands at 1,493.
Of the new cases, 448 were recorded in Vancouver Coastal Health, 645 were in Fraser Health, 69 in Island Health, 80 in Interior Health, and 51 in Northern Health.
There are currently 9,184 active cases in the province, 336 people in hospital — 101 of whom are in intensive care — and 15,203 people under active public health monitoring due to possible exposure to an identified case.
A total of 97,462 people in B.C. have recovered from COVID-19.
Thursday’s numbers were announced by Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix during a media briefing.
Henry also said Thursday the province is shifting its screening strategy for variants of concern, but the methods for preventing transmission, such as handwashing and physical distancing, remain the same.
“Our strategy moving forward, given this high rate of VoCs that we’re seeing in British Columbia, will be to no longer routinely sequence for confirmation,” said Henry. “We just assume that those screened positives will be the variants. We assume that anybody who is positive for COVID-19 needs to be treated as if they have one of these highly transmissible viruses.”
Henry also introduced new workplace rules that would see some businesses temporarily shut down for 10 days or longer if three or more employees test positive for COVID-19.
The workplace closure order will only be implemented if Public Health determines that the transmission occurred at the workplace location.
Health officials have said in recent weeks that they are seeing an uptick in cases and hospitalizations among young people, particularly those 20-29.
However, Dr. Richard Stanwick, chief medical health officer with Island Health, told reporters Wednesday that isn’t necessarily the case on Vancouver Island.
“We have some individuals in the younger spectrum but certainly nothing like what’s being witnessed on the Lower Mainland, but as always we have lagged behind the trends that have occurred elsewhere and so this could change,” he said.
Dr. Stanwick said the growth in South Island cases is likely due to several reasons including a significant number of cases linked to CFB Esquimalt, spring break travel, and social connections.
“We gave the virus the opportunity to spread by engaging in social interactions and probably not observing all of the precautions Dr. Henry has been asking of us we’re definitely seeing evidence of COVID fatigue,” he said.
According to the latest data provided by Island Health, there are currently 504 active cases on Vancouver Island.
Of the active cases, 271 are on southern Vancouver Island, 201 on central Vancouver Island and 32 on northern Vancouver Island.
Southern Vancouver Island includes the Greater Victoria region, Southern Gulf Islands and the Port Renfrew area.
Central Vancouver Island includes the Cowichan Valley, Duncan, Nanaimo, Parksville, Port Alberni and Tofino areas.
Northern Vancouver Island goes from the Comox Valley to Port Hardy but also includes surrounding areas like Alert Bay and Sointula.
Over the course of the pandemic, the Island Health region has reported 3,804 cases.