A record number of COVID-19 deaths were reported in B.C. on Wednesday.
British Columbia health officials reported 738 new cases – including 21 on Vancouver Island – and 13 deaths from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, the highest one-day death toll reported during the pandemic.
The total number of confirmed cases in B.C. now stands at 29,086 while the death toll climbs to 371.
Of the new cases, 443 were recorded in Fraser Health, 169 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 21 in Island Health, 70 in Interior Health, and 35 in Northern Health.
Four of the new cases were epi-linked.
There are currently 7,616 active cases in the province, 294 people in hospital – 61 of whom are in intensive care – and 10,270 people under active public health monitoring due to possible exposure to an identified case.
A total of 19,814 people have recovered from COVID-19 in B.C.
There were no new outbreaks reported within B.C.’s healthcare system. Currently, there 57 active outbreaks in the healthcare system – 52 in long-term care or assisted living and five in acute living facilities.
There are 173 active cases within Island Health – 15 in North Island, 109 in Central Island and 49 in South Island.
Meanwhile, the total number of COVID-19 cases reported within Island Health stands at 526 – 118 in North Island, 233 in Central Island and 175 in South Island.
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During Wednesday’s update, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, announced that there was a data error, particularly in Fraser Health, that affected the reported number of new cases between Nov. 16 to Nov. 24.
As a result, the number of new cases reported in B.C. was not 941 but 706 new cases. The adjusted data means the province’s highest ever single-day case total was 859 new cases on Nov. 21. Originally, health officials had reported 713 total cases in B.C. for that day.
“I know we had a dramatic increase in the daily numbers, that was a result of some of these data coming in at a different time,” Henry said. “We apologize, of course.”
Henry said people put a lot of stock in the daily case numbers, but the seven-day rolling average is also an important key indicator. She also said while the revised numbers show the peak appears to have come down a bit, there are still way too many people becoming infected with COVID.
“Yesterday’s number was slightly smaller, doesn’t change the fact that we are in a very critical time right now and we are seeing far too many people being infected with this virus and that is being reflected in our hospitalization and people in ICU,” said Henry.
B.C.’s top doctor also touched on masks and the province’s recent mandate that requires people to wear masks in indoor spaces.
Henry said people need to be mindful that there are people with disabilities who cannot wear masks, but for those who are able to wear them, they must when in indoor spaces.
“I have no time for people who are belligerent and are trying to make some sort of a statement about anti-vax and that this is not a truly challenging pandemic,” she said. “I have no time for people who believe that somehow wearing a mask makes them ill or is a sign of lack of freedom.”
Meanwhile, B.C.’s health minister, Adrian Dix, said British Columbians need to come together and slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We need to look deep,” he said. “We must force COVID-19 to loosen its grip.”
Dix also touched on similar remarks made by Henry about masks. He said those who consider having to wear a mask an injustice are wrong and should reconsider their position.
“When people use terms of injustice, they should be properly applied. We announced today 13 people passed away from COVID-19, that is serious business. It is awful to have to do that. It awful for the families, it is awful for the caregivers,” Dix said. “This is a pandemic that is affecting the entire, it is affecting us all a great deal. So when people try and compare what is really at best, inconvenience, with injustice, I think they are just wrong.”