B.C. reports 30 new COVID-19 cases, 1 new case in Island Health

B.C. reports 30 new COVID-19 cases, 1 new case in Island Health
Province of BC
Health Minister Adrian Dix and Chief Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provide an update on COVID-19 on July 23, 2020.

B.C. health officials reported 30 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, including one new case in Island Health.

Of the 30 new cases in B.C., one is epidemiologically-linked, meaning they were never tested but were presumed to have COVID-19 because they developed symptoms and were close contacts of a laboratory-confirmed case.

Island Health has now had a total of 142 cases since the start of the pandemic.

There are now 304 active cases in the province. One additional COVID-19 death in long-term care in Vancouver was reported Thursday, bringing the death toll to 190.

B.C. has now had a total of 3,392 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, including 1,051 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,750 people in Fraser Health, 142 in Island Health, 315 in Interior Health, 77 in Northern Health and 57 people who reside outside of Canada (example visitors and temporary foreign workers).

A total of 2,898 people have recovered. Sixteen people are in hospital with COVID-19 (down one from July 22) with three in intensive care.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said she is introducing a new order that will limit the number of people allowed at vacation rentals and on houseboats across the province.

The order will apply to all rental properties, including services like Airbnb and houseboat rentals.

According to Henry, the order will limit the number of guests allowed to stay in a vacation rental and will limit the capacity of people allowed on rental boats, including houseboats. She said the limits will be based on the size of the vessel.

The order will apply to all rental properties, including services like Airbnb and house boat rentals provincewide.

Henry did not say when the order will go into effect or further details about the order.

“This virus can be a stealth virus. We have seen it move around our province, sometimes silently, with far-reaching impacts and serious consequences,” Henry said Thursday.

“Everyone deserves to have a fun summer and I think we need it here in BC and across the world with what we have been dealing with, but it needs to be a safe summer as well.”

Earlier Thursday, B.C. Premier John Horgan reminded young people they are not immune to COVID-19 and appealed to better judgment to stop the rise in cases in the province.

Horgan says he was disappointed to view footage of gatherings in Kelowna and on the Vancouver beach.

“Come on, you’re better than that,” he said.

“Young people are not immune, young people are not invincible. All of us are in this together.”

Horgan says that despite an increase in cases among people in their 20s and 30s, the province does not plan to pursue punitive measures against crowds who gathered for a drum circle on a Vancouver beach or others who break public health protocols.

Instead, he says the government plans to continue its strategy of asking British Columbians to act responsibly.

He says he expects young people will share their stories of infection on social media and he encouraged anyone who sees their peers acting outside of the guidelines to speak up.

Henry said Thursday that despite the gatherings seen on social media, the vast majority are following public health advice. She said she is incredibly heartened by the buy-in from British Columbians.

She once again said masks are the least effective way of preventing the spread of COVID-19, compared to other measures like physical distancing and staying home when ill. Henry said B.C. is not at point where mandatory masks are needed. But if there’s more community transmission, it is an option, she added.

To see B.C.’s COVID-19 numbers by day and health authority, visit the BC COVID-19 dashboard.

According to researchers with Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide is now more than 15.3 million, with more than 625,000 deaths.

Watch Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix on July 23, 2020 here: 

With files from The Canadian Press

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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