Island Health has a new confirmed case of COVID-19, ending a weeks-long run of no new infections in the area.
B.C. health officials reported 32 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, including 10 new cases from Friday to Saturday, six from Saturday to Sunday and 16 from Sunday to Monday.
There was also one additional death due to COVID-19 over the last three days. The death toll is at 169.
There have now been 131 cases in Island Health since the pandemic began. Of those 125 have recovered and there have been five deaths.
The last time there was a new confirmed case in Island Health was on May 22, according to B.C. health officials. However, three new epidemiologically linked cases were added to Island Health’s numbers on June 4. The three people had recovered at that point.
Henry said the new case is a reminder that people travel to and from Vancouver Island, whether for essential travel, looking after family members or otherwise.
“It reminds us this virus is still circulating in our community,” Henry said.
“Thankfully here in B.C. at a low level because of the things that we’ve done together but we all have to continue to take those measures that protect ourselves and protect our families.”
Elsewhere, there have been 954 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,474 in Fraser Health, 198 in Interior Health and 65 in Northern Health.
B.C. health officials do not say where COVID-19 cases are in health regions.
There are 182 active cases in the province. Fourteen are in hospital and six are in intensive care. A total of 2,471 people have recovered.
There are no new health-care outbreaks but seven remain active.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said phase 3 of British Columbia’s restart plan will begin soon, with Premier John Horgan sharing more information this week. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix are scheduled to give an update on COVID-19 modelling for the province tomorrow, June 23.
Phase 3 would allow for more travel within the province, though Henry urged B.C. residents to proceed with caution.
“If you’re considering travelling to other parts of the province, we need to be respectful. Take the same precautions that we take at home,” she said, adding that people should bring groceries with them if heading to a more remote community.
Henry also said the order for no more than 50 people at gatherings and events will continue.
As for the summer, Henry said some communities are excited for local tourism but are still doing assessments to do what’s safe. She said some communities may not be ready to welcome visitors.
And while the focus continues on COVID-19 this summer, she said there is also a high forest fire risk, which means people need to be extra vigilant outdoors.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said that while in B.C. the number of people with COVID-19 in hospital at 14, in the U.S. numbers continue to grow, with record numbers of cases being recorded in Oregon, Washington State and California.
“People have made tremendous sacrifices to get where we are,” he said.
“The need to maintain physical distancing has increased, not decreased.”
And Henry said that visits to long-term care homes in B.C. could be a possibility in the coming weeks, depending on the availability of staff and personal protective equipment.
She also said there is no specific uptick in the number of cases that would trigger the province to revert back to Phase 2, but that some activities or workplaces could be further shut down if there is an increase in numbers.
Henry said people should expect cases to continue to be identified as the province proceeds with reopening.
“As we increase travel across the province, we are going to have more cases. I think it’s really important for us to recognize that we’re in a balancing act here,” she said.
To see B.C.’s COVID-19 numbers by day and health authority, along with testing numbers, visit the BC COVID-19 dashboard.
Researchers with Johns Hopkins University and Medicine say the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide is more than nine million, with more than 469,000 deaths. The United States continues to have the highest number of cases and deaths, followed by Brazil.
Watch Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix on June 22, 2020:
More to come
With files from CBC and The Canadian Press