British Columbia has reported a new daily record of COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row, announcing 911 people diagnosed across the province.
Of the 911 new cases, 27 are linked to the Island Health region.
The 911 cases are now considered B.C.’s new daily record, following a data adjustment earlier this week and surpassing Thursday’s announcement of 887.
There are currently 10,430 residents remain under active public health monitoring.
On Friday, there were 11 additional deaths related to the virus, meaning the provincial total over the course of the pandemic has now reached 395.
B.C. has now reported 37 deaths from the virus over the past three days, announcing a record-setting 13 deaths on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Dr. Bonnie Henry said most of the deaths reported on Friday were linked with long-term care facilities.
“I know there are 11 additional families out there who are grieving out there today,” Dr. Henry said during a live press conference.
Dr. Henry added that there are currently 301 individuals hospitalized from COVID-19 in B.C. – an increase of seven since Thursday – with 69 people in intensive care (increasing by five from Thursday).
As of Friday, the total number of cases in British Columbia over the course of the pandemic has been 30,884.
Since Thursday’s numbers, there have been 153 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 649 in the Fraser Health region, 27 in the Island Health region, 47 in the Interior Health region, 35 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a press conference that there have been three new health-care facility outbreaks at the German-Canadian Benevolent Society Home, Villa Cathay and Morgan Place Care Home.
While three new outbreaks were reported on Thursday, one came to an end. The outbreak at Peace Portal Seniors Village has been declared over. In total, 54 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and five acute-care facilities have active outbreaks.
Island Health has 183 active cases: 45 (-1) on southern Vancouver Island, 112 (+4) on central Vancouver Island and 26 (+10) 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 571 cases.
Addressing the current guidelines
Dr. Henry addressed the current situation with fitness centres and group fitness classes on Friday, suggesting that health officials needed more time to adjust guidelines.
Earlier this week, provincial health officials announced that all group fitness classes were to be suspended for the time being, including yoga, pilates, spin classes and interval training.
“Our teams have been looking at the evidence about this and looking at the situation around the world and to make sure that we get things right so that when they restart, it can be done safely,” Dr. Henry said.
“We hoped that guidance could have been out sooner, but it has turned out to be more complex than we had realized.”
She also indicated that there is hope the new guidelines will be posted by the end of next week.
In regards to social gatherings, B.C.’s top doctor pointed, out that around the world, countries are seeing a much higher level of community transmission.
“This means things that were safe, using the guidelines that we had developed over the last 10 months, are no longer in that safe zone. This is different than what we were experiencing before,”
Dr. Henry emphasized places like temples and churches as being places that were safe just a few weeks ago. She said that despite these facilities following the rules, there have been a significant amount of community transmissions linked to them in recent weeks, which has led to the new set of rules.
Holiday Shopping and Black Friday
British Columbia’s provincial health officer took a moment to address holiday shopping during today’s press conference, particularly for this upcoming weekend.
She encouraged people to carry out their shopping while keeping COVID-19 safety rules in mind and buying from local businesses.
“Shop locally. Support our local businesses who need us, whether that is shopping online or booking ahead or going at a time when it is not so busy.”
She also is reminding residents that shopping shouldn’t be a social outing with people from outside their own homes.