A half dozen people have died from the coronavirus over the weekend in British Columbia.
Provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix, minister of health, announced 31 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths from the virus in British Columbia over the past 72 hours.
All six people who died were in long-term care facilities. Four were from the Vancouver Coastal Health while two were from the Fraser Health region. The provincial death toll now stands at 183 while the total number of cases reported in the province climbs to 2,978.
“We want to pass on our condolences to all of those, particularly the families of the people who have passed over the last few days,” an emotional Henry said on Monday. “As always this is such a challenging time to have a loved one pass away.”
“To lose six people, all in long-term care over the last three days is a source of enormous grief for the families involved, the caregivers involved, for the communities involved and we share that sense of loss, that sense of grief with them,” added Dix. “It is a moment of sorrow.”
Officials have not provided an update since Friday, July 3, as they have moved away from providing weekend updates.
Nine COVID-19 cases were reported between Friday and Saturday, 15 cases were reported between Saturday and Sunday, and seven cases were reported between Sunday and today.
None of the new COVID-19 cases reported over the past 72 hours were within the Island Health region, which covers Vancouver Island and areas north of the Sunshine Coast.
Since the outbreak began, 1,570 cases have been reported in Fraser Health, 1,008 cases reported in Vancouver Coastal Health, 203 cases reported in Fraser Health, 132 cases reported in Island Health, and 65 cases reported in Northern Health.
During Monday’s update, Henry said there has been an increase in visitors from elsewhere in Canada to British Columbia, but urged people to be kind and lead by example.
“As we have seen an increase in the number of visitors from elsewhere in Canada in these last couple of weeks, many businesses who rely on visitors and tourism have retooled and put together safety plans to allow them to open their doors to other Canadians,” Henry said, adding. “And let’s show other Canadians how they too can do their part when they are here in B.C.”
Henry also reminded British Columbians that there are many Canadians who lived elsewhere that are returning home to B.C. for the first time since the pandemic began.
“We remind all British Columbians to show kindness and understanding to those around us. We have to remember that many Canadians reside elsewhere and many of them are only now returning home. Many have returned home in the months since this pandemic started,” she said. “So let’s assume the best. Rather than offering judgment, continue doing what we have been doing with kindness and compassion.”
However, those who are arriving in British Columbia from elsewhere in Canada need to understand that people in the province are “keeping their bubbles small” and maintaining their safe distance from others, said Henry.
Prior to B.C.’s update, Canada had a total of 105,536 confirmed COVID-19 cases since it recorded its first case back on February 20. Data available on Health Canada’s website shows that Quebec has reported 55,863 cases of the virus, the most of any province or territory in Canada. Ontario has recorded 35,749 cases while our neighbour to the east, Alberta, has 8,259 confirmed cases as 11:50 a.m.
According to the World Health Organization, there are now more than 11.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 500,000 deaths.
The United States has reported a total of 2.8 million cases of COVID-19, the most of any country in the world.
British Columbia’s southern neighbour, Washington, has reported a total of 35,898 cases according to the latest data available on the state’s health department website. The three other U.S. states that border British Columbia — Alaska, Idaho and Montana — have far fewer cases. Idaho has recorded 7,773 confirmed cases of COVID-19 while Montana has recorded 1,249 cases of the virus. Meanwhile, Alaska has recorded 1,138 cases.