Taking temperature: BC hits highest number of active cases since beginning of COVID-19 pandemic

There are 236 new cases of COVID-19 and 2 new deaths from the virus in BC since Thursday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 4,594. Of those, 1,419 cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority region and 2,425 are in the Fraser Health Authority region.

This jump in cases over the weekend has officially brought BC to its highest number of confirmed active cases of COVID-19, sitting at 743, since the start of the pandemic.

This increase in cases follows the trend seen in recent weeks, with the number of active cases more than doubling from July to August. The majority of new cases are found in young adults, who often experience milder symptoms of the virus.

Graph: Myla White, Source: BC Centre for Disease Control

“This actually makes things quite challenging,” said Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Réka Gustafson. “That’s because some people may not even realize that they have COVID-19 and they inadvertently spread it to others.”

The prevalence of cases in young adults corresponds with the lower rates of hospitalizations, admittance to intensive care and deaths seen in recent weeks in comparison to what was observed in March and April. However, the hundreds of young adults with confirmed cases and the hundreds more currently isolating carry the potential of spreading the virus to those who are susceptible to more severe symptoms.

“The bar for staying home and staying away from gatherings needs to be very, very low,” said Gustafson. “With any symptom at all, please stay at home. Please do not go into gatherings.”

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Minister of Health Adrian Dix spoke about recent enforcement measures for establishments and individuals breaking provincial guidelines regarding the pandemic.

Surveillance and enforcement operations have resulted in the closure of bars, restaurants and nightclubs in BC. Over the weekend, Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health investigated 128 banquet facilities after reports of high numbers of guests at banquet halls and identified six banquet halls of concern.

Further enforcement steps are expected to be announced by the provincial government later this week.

“This pandemic is not ending soon,” said Dix. “This pandemic that we’re all so very tired of, will be going on now, we would expect well through 2021 into 2022.

[T]his new normal is going to be in place for a long time. And the way that we address that … has to be by choice, by engagement, and by talking to each other and by encouraging one another, and when we fall, helping each other up.”

Stay up to date on UBC information related to COVID-19 by visiting ubyssey.ca/covid-19, the websites of the BCCDC, the Public Health Agency of Canada or the World Health Organization. The province has set up a dedicated COVID-19 phone line at 1-888-COVID19 or you can text 1-888-268-4319. For updates on UBC’s response to COVID-19, visit ubc.ca/campus-notifications/.