A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

B.C. has recorded 738 new cases and 13 new deaths as of Wednesday (Nov. 25), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during the day’s press briefing.

Of the new cases, 169 are in Vancouver Coastal Health, 443 are in Fraser Health, 70 are in Interior Health, 21 are in Island Health and 35 are in Northern Health.

Today’s new cases were not record-breaking, but neither were Tuesdays, which the health ministry reported at 941. Henry said Wednesday that numbers from Fraser Health were reported on incorrect days over the past week, meaning that Wednesday’s actually had 706 cases. The current highest daily case count is 835 on Saturday, which did not have 713 infections as the health ministry previously reported.

Henry said the errors in the data did not affect when positive cases were notified, but said the error was caused by a technological updates, likely brought on by increasing capacity in government labs.

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There have been a total of 29,086 cases since the pandemic began in B.C., of which 7,616 are active. There have been a total of 371 deaths. There are currently 294 in hospital, of whom 61 are in ICU or critical care. Hospital bed capacity in B.C. is at 72 per cent overall and at 56 per cent for critical care and ICU.

There are 57 health-care facility outbreaks, with 52 of them in long-term care and five in acute care.

Henry reminded British Columbians that masks are mandatory in all public indoor spaces.

“If you see somebody without a mask, have compassion,” she said. “People who are unable to wear a mask must be accommodated.”

However, Henry noted that some of the onus is on the people who cannot wear masks to limit other people’s exposure to them, including utilizing curbside pickup, delivery or shopping during off-peak hours.

People who are being “deliberately belligerent” will face consequences, she noted, including a $230 fines announced Wednesday.

“I have no time for people who are belligerent and are trying to make some statement about anti-vax… and believe that wearing a mask somehow makes them ill, or is a sign of lack of freedom,” she said.

Henry reminded people that the upcoming holiday season, like to be more solitary than many, is a time to make sure no one feels they are alone.

“Reach out, do those things we did back in April and May to support each others,” she said. “Find ways to connect.”

As cases increase, Henry said Ottawa has lent contact tracers to the Fraser Health region, which has been hardest hit by the pandemic. The past few weeks have seen an increasing number of cases that cannot be linked to another known case.

However, she acknowledged the situation is getting difficult.

“I wouldn’t say we’re losing but we’re on the edge for sure,” she said.

“It is still within our grasp.”

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@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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