102 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. over the weekend | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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102 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. over the weekend

Dr. Bonnie Henry July 20.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/BC Government
July 20, 2020 - 3:54 PM

B.C. saw its biggest weekend spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in what the province's top doctor called a "concerning" turn of events.

Since Friday, the number of COVID-19 cases in B.C. grew by 102, raising the total number of cases to 3,300, Dr. Bonnie Henry said today, July 20. The total number of active cases is 253 and there were no more deaths.

There are now 1,042 people in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,713 people in the Fraser Health region, 142 people in Vancouver Island Health, 69 in Northern Health.

In Interior Health, the number is now 280 compared to 235 on Friday. This is the most notable rise of cases in the region since the pandemic began.

Sixty cases of COVID-19 are now being linked to the parties and outings in Kelowna over the Canada Day weekend. All of these cases haven’t just stayed in the city. Some picked up COVID-19 and returned to their home cities, like Vancouver and Calgary and Dr. Bonnie Henry indicated the curve of the pandemic is showing signs of turning upward for the first time since it was flattened.

“We have not yet seen that sort of change that we've seen in other parts of the country of younger people being more affected,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said. “Having said that, we know that most of the cases that have arisen in the last few days have been in people in their 20s and 30s. So I expect that number will change in the coming weeks.”

Dr. Henry said people who are testing positive in the last few days, are starting to have a larger number of contacts again. During the first phase of the pandemic there were three to four people in their bubbles. Now it's in the area of 11 and upward, which is similar to what it was before the pandemic began.

"We're starting to see that coming back which means we're having increased connections with people in the community," she said.

"We knew that would happen, as we moved into this phase of our restart here in B.C. but the challenge now is that we are no longer having safe connections, and that is what is spreading this virus."

Going together to restaurants and bars and clubs, but also in houseboats, resorts and private homes with groups of people who are outside of your bubble is the source of the spread.

"The challenge with that is we may not know the people that we're in close contact with," she said. "It's often outdoors or a combination of indoors and outdoors but spending that time together with people, and then mixing. So we may be with a small group one night and then a different small group the next night, and those are the situations where we can pass this virus on,  it's very challenging for our teams in public health to find all the contacts in a timely way."

Dr. Henry said she recognizes social connections are important but safety needs to be top of mind because the curve isn't going to stay flat on its own.

"We run the risk of having a rapid rebound in new cases," Dr. Henry said. "We are starting to see an uptick. This is concerning ... it is not forgone that we will have a rapid rebound. It is something that we can make a difference in if we pay attention now."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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