B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Education Minister Rob Fleming at the B.C. legislature, July 20, 2020. The province’s COVID-19 plan is developing as return to school approaches. (B.C. government)

B.C. records 236 new COVID-19 cases over weekend

100 positive tests Friday, two new long-term care outbreaks

B.C. has recorded 236 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, with 100 new cases Friday to Saturday, another 88 Saturday to Sunday and 48 more as of Monday, Aug. 17.

The Saturday total is the second highest single-day total since the pandemic began in January, and it comes after the B.C. Centre for Disease Control conducted more than 10,000 coronavirus tests over the weekend.

Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Réka Gustafson said the recent increase in coronavirus infections in B.C. is still mainly among younger people. There have been two additional deaths in long-term care and and two new infection outbreaks in the Lower Mainland, for a total of 10 active outbreaks in the B.C. health care system.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said he spent part of the weekend speaking with young people to encourage them to spread the word about the continued danger of community infection that can reach higher-risk people.

“This pandemic that we’re all so tired of is not ending soon,” Dix said, adding he expects physical distance and other restrictions are likely to carry on through 2021 and into 2022. Further measures are being prepared to restrict private parties, and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth is expected to announce them later this week.

“We can’t let a few wreck it for everybody else,” Dix said. “Watch the Canucks with your bubble in the Stanley Cup run.”

In their latest coronavirus modelling projections, Aug. 13, Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the trend of about 75 new COVID-19 cases per day could continue to September. The next day, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control reported 84 new positive tests, with more than 2,000 people being monitored through contact tracing after possible exposure to the virus.

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The education ministry has been preparing for opening of school, starting with two orientation days for staff Sept. 8 and 9 to establish routines for designated learning groups. The ministry announced Aug. 17 that middle and high school students as well as staff will be required to wear masks in confined common areas including hallways and buses.


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