B.C.’s COVID-19 response and latest updates for Aug. 20
Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Réka Gustafson, B.C.’s deputy provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia.
Today, we are announcing 80 new cases for a total of 4,825 cases in British Columbia.
There are 780 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, 2,574 people who are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and 3,845 people who tested positive have recovered.
Currently, 11 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, four of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 1,526 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 2,533 in the Fraser Health region, 159 in the Island Health region, 411 in the Interior Health region, 121 in the Northern Health region and 75 cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
There have been two new COVID-19 related deaths in the Fraser Health region for a total of 200 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks. In total, eight long-term care or assisted-living facilities and one acute-care facility have active outbreaks.
There has been one new community outbreak with nine confirmed cases at Loblaws’ distribution centre in the Fraser Health region. Public health teams are on site screening employees and contact tracing. There also continue to be community exposure events at other locations and on flights into and out of the province.
Alerts are posted on the BC Centre for Disease Control’s (BCCDC) website, as well as on health authorities’ websites, providing details on where the potential exposures occurred and what actions to take – whether you need to self-isolate or monitor for symptoms.
The mental strain of COVID-19 has been difficult for many. We have had to change many things and learn new ways to safely live our lives, yet British Columbians have shown incredible resilience, fortitude and care.
In recent weeks, parts of the province have had to manage the challenge of dangerous wildfires that have put people and their homes at risk. COVID-19 brings an added complexity to what is an extremely stressful and difficult situation for many who have been forced to leave their homes or be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
We want to assure you that we will continue to provide the necessary public health supports. Public health teams are working closely with emergency responders, providing ongoing guidance at evacuation centres and supporting those who may need additional care, such as those self-isolating or those most vulnerable to severe illness.
Here in B.C., we are fortunate to have some of the world’s leading public health experts. Not only are the leading their own research, they are constantly reviewing the research and data from around the globe.
Science has shown us that regardless of where we may be in our province and what we may be doing, crowded indoor gatherings that encourage close proximity, especially those surrounded by people we do not know and involve alcohol, are a clear source of transmission.
That is why it is so important to keep your groups small, to spend time with people you know and to always stay home when you are feeling ill.
The data show us that small, indoor gatherings differ from controlled settings, such as an office or classroom, where you know who is in the space and can more easily take precautions to protect yourself and those around you.
While we still have much to learn about COVID-19, what we do know is that by continually monitoring for clusters, quickly managing new cases and containing the spread, we can protect our most vulnerable and keep ourselves, our loved ones and our communities safe.
The COVID-19 journey has not been easy, but we can be assured that by continuing to work together, we will get through this.
Lead image: A gentle reminder at the entrance to the Cranbrook Farmers’ Market. Carrie Schafer/e-KNOW photo