A record 124 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the last day in B.C. but no new deaths, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Friday.
There are 23 people in hospital, including seven who are in intensive care, according to a written statement from the health officials. The number of active cases of infection from the novel coronavirus has also hit a record high at 974 out of 5,496 total cases to date.
Henry and Dix pleaded with British Columbians to play it safe this weekend and to remember to keep a safe, physical distance, avoid large gatherings and wear a mask when necessary.
“COVID-19 requires new ways of living our lives with new precautions and routines for ourselves and our families, whether at home, work, school or when spending time with others. This includes keeping our numbers of contacts low, especially at indoor parties and events, whether in a hall or in our own home,” they said.
“We have seen transmission from even small events, and the last thing we want to do is pass COVID-19 to those we are closest to.”
To date, 204 people have died of the virus in B.C. There are nine active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living facilities and two in acute care units of hospitals.
Also on Friday, the Squamish Nation informed residents of the Capilano 5 reserve on Metro Vancouver’s North Shore that eight community members had tested positive for the virus.
In a live Facebook video, Squamish Nation Coun. Chris Lewis said three patients who all live in the same household had confirmed cases of COVID-19. Another five cases were confirmed later on Friday afternoon, all of which have been linked to earlier ones.
On a more positive note, the community outbreak on Haida Gwaii has ended.
Search for ‘health influencers’ among the young is on
Friday’s record-high numbers follow a relative lull in B.C.’s second surge of COVID-19 that saw three straight days with fewer than 70 new cases confirmed.
Recent weeks have seen an upward trend in new cases among people under the age of 40.
According to Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO of Fraser Health, people between the ages of 20 and 29 have accounted for 30 per cent of recent cases in her health authority, even though that age group only accounts for 14 per cent of residents in the region.
“This shows that this demographic is becoming sick with COVID-19 at double the rate of the general population. We need to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep our friends and families safe,” Lee said in a news release.
The health authority is now asking for young people to become volunteer “health influencers” to help spread the word on social media about the importance of preventing transmission of the virus. Anyone interested can sign up at fraserhealth.ca/healthinfluencer.