B.C. recorded 1,130 new cases over the past two days, including 16 new cases in Island Health.
From Tuesday to Wednesday, there were 536 new cases. And from Wednesday to Thursday, there were 594 new cases (a new daily high).
Over the last 48 hours, there were 16 new cases in the Island Health region, 249 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 808 in the Fraser Health region, 34 in the Interior Health region and 23 in the Northern Health region.
Four more COVID-19 deaths were reported in the last two days, bringing B.C.’s COVID-19 death toll to 288. Three of the deaths were in long-term care and one was an elderly person in the community. Three of the deaths were in Vancouver Coastal Health and one was in Fraser Health.
A total of 155 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 (13 more than Nov. 10), with 44 in intensive care (two fewer than Nov. 10).
There are 5,793 active cases (660 more than Nov. 10) and 11,091 people under active public health monitoring due to close contact with a confirmed case (1,310 more than Nov. 10).
B.C. has now had a total of 20,368 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. A total of 14,098 people have recovered.
There are six new healthcare outbreaks, including the outbreak at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. Three healthcare outbreaks have been declared over. There are now 41 active outbreaks in healthcare settings: 35 in long-term care and six in acute care.
“We’re accelerating the number of cases in our community,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
“We are in a challenging time, perhaps the most challenging time of this pandemic.”
Henry said she doesn’t expect to see changes in the trend of COVID-19 numbers until next week.
“We are going to watch the impact,” Henry said.
“A possibility [is] we will have to do more or different things. Or [the] possibility we go back. Our hope is to do a circuit break where we can manage again.”
Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix presented Thursday’s numbers in a live briefing, along with the province’s latest epidemiological modelling.
According to the latest modelling, B.C.’s COVID-19 cases are doubling every 13 days.
The modelling also shows that over the past two weeks cases have been intensely focused in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions.
Henry said the virus transmits much more easily inside and B.C. needs to get back to the levels where contact tracing can control the spread.
Henry said the recent surge in cases has put a strain on contact tracing efforts, resulting in the more severe restrictions brought in over the weekend.
“The vast majority of cases we can still link to a local cluster. With our rapid increase in numbers of COVID-19, this has been put in jeopardy. The ability to find everybody … has been stretched to the max, and we have fallen a little bit behind,” she said.
B.C. has had the highest number of new cases yet this week (3,121). The median age of people of COVID-19 has come down, stayed within the low to mid-thirties. Early on, hospitalizations were 20 per cent; now they are six per cent.
In the summer, younger people were more likely to be infected, according to Henry. That decreased a bit, but recently, young people are again driving infection in the province (work and social gatherings), which is spilling over into other age groups including long-term care homes.
Henry said the primary source of transmission is households and community interactions, having people over to our house and holding family gatherings and celebrations. Other example include congregating before going to a gym or at hockey game. She said there have been very few transmission events in schools or daycares.
Courtesy of Province of BC
Henry said among healthcare workers, the rate of transmission has gone down, with fewer than 10 per cent of all cases involve health care workers. The majority of health care workers affected are nurses and care aides.
Henry provided a scenario of spread from actual Fraser Health case data (see below).
Some other scenarios from B.C. were also shown (see below)
Henry said it’s not that businesses are “bad” or doing the wrong thing amid the pandemic. Indoor settings are riskier than outdoor settings, she said. There are ventilation issues indoors, including when music is really loud or someone is talking very loud as this can lead to spread the virus.
According to Henry, the safety plans the province thought were adequate are not adequate now. There are things people could get away with in the summer as the virus doesn’t spread as rapidly when it is warmer, etc. As the province moves into cough and flu season, virus finds it easier to spread.
“We are seeing a higher proportion of our population being affected right now, that’s why we need to take a step back from our social interactions and our travel,” Henry said.
“Things we could do in the summer, we can’t do now.”
As for COVID-19 in schools, Henry said there have been a lot of coughs, runny noses, leading to more testing. Two-thirds of the tests are done via spit and gargle test. The vast majority of those tested are not carrying COVID, according to Henry.
Case rates have been increasing and B.C. surpassed Ontario in the past couple of days, according to Henry.
The positivity rate has gone up to 5.4 per cent, according to Henry. She added the province is testing more people and focusing on people with symptoms. As the province starts to see more influenza, B.C. is going to have to manage its testing capacity, she said.
As for sero-prevalence, which looks at how many people have anti-bodies for COVID-19, it’s at about one per cent in B.C.
“We’re now in a second phase,” Henry said about the province’s COVID-19 cases.
There are 51 active cases of COVID-19 in Island Health: 23 on southern Vancouver Island, 17 on central Vancouver Island and 11 on northern Vancouver Island.
B.C. has now had a total of 324 cases since the start of the pandemic. A total of 267 people have recovered and there have been six deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
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.
More COVID-19 information
If there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in a school, public health contacts affected school community members directly. Regional health authorities also post school notifications on their websites, providing the date and type of notification (outbreak, cluster or exposure) for impacted schools.
The Island Health school site can be found here.
There is one school exposure and one cluster posted for Island Health as of Nov. 10. The COVID-19 cluster is at Dover Bay Secondary at 6135 McGirr Road in Nanaimo on Nov. 2, Nov. 5 and Nov. 6. This site was formally labelled as an exposure.
The exposure is at John Barsby Secondary at 550 Seventh St. in Nanaimo on Nov. 5 and Nov. 6.
An exposure is when a single person with lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection attended school during their infectious period.
A cluster is when two or more individuals with lab-confirmed COVID-19 infection who attended school during their infectious period. The cases may be linked to school-based transmission.
Island Health’s COVID-19 data breaks down North, Central and South Island case counts and lists the number of days since any new lab-diagnosed cases. You can find the data here along with any public exposures.
To see B.C.’s COVID-19 numbers by day and health authority, along with testing numbers, positivity rates and recoveries, visit the B.C. COVID-19 dashboard. The numbers are updated at 4:30 p.m. PT each weekday.
To see a list of all provincial public COVID-19 exposures and outbreaks in the province, including links to exposures and outbreaks listed on health authority websites, visit the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website ( BC CDC) here.
Island Health has one COVID-19 outbreak at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital after transmission in the transitional care unit. The outbreak was reported on Nov. 11, 2020.
Island Health provides updates on the locations and times of known possible exposures to COVID-19 to the public in our region when they are unable to reach or identify all individuals potentially exposed via contact tracing. A close contact exposure means face-to-face contact for an extended period of time with a person who is infectious.
The possible exposures listed are believed to be low risk but, out of an abundance of caution, Island Health asks that anyone who may have visited any of the locations listed on the specified dates and times to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms.
And the BC CDC has set up a COVID-19 epidemiology dashboard, which compares B.C. to other jurisdictions nationally and globally. It will be available on Tuesdays and Fridays.
According to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide is more than 52 million. More than 1.2 million deaths have been recorded.
Watch Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix on Nov. 12, 2020, below:
With files from , Michelle GhoussoubCBC and The Canadian Press