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236 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday, 2 more deaths

Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Réka Gustafson Aug. 17, 2020.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/BC Government
August 17, 2020 - 3:39 PM

There have been 236 new diagnoses of COVID-19 since Friday, bringing the total number of cases in British Columbia to 4,594.

It's a significant jump — Saturday alone accounted for 100 new cases which is the second-highest number since the start of the pandemic— but the number of people in hospital with the disease has fallen to four from 12, since Friday and that is the lowest number of hospitalizations since April.

“We do have an increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in B.C.," Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Réka Gustafson said today, Aug. 17, during the regular pandemic update. “The majority of new infections in B.C. at this time, are among young adults. This tells us that we have done today a relatively good job of protecting the most vulnerable. But we are also reporting some new outbreaks in long term care facilities, and that's a really important reminder for us all that the risks to vulnerable citizens of British Columbia remains.”

For young people, Dr. Gustafson explained, COVID-19 is often is a relatively mild infection that transmits with little signal of symptoms.

But that doesn’t make it less of a threat.

“This actually makes things quite challenging,” she said. “That's because some people may not even realize that they have COVID-19, and they can inadvertently spread it to others to friends, to colleagues, to family members and other vulnerable people in their circle, in their community and even in their workplace.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix pointed out it’s almost like two pandemics.

Among one population, it’s deadly. For others, it’s not.

“(This) is the other part of the story that we have to try together to address, and to address better,” Dix said, adding that he spent a good chunk of the weekend speaking with young people, encouraging them to talk in their own ways about the threat of COVID-19.

“I've been actually so inspired by their willingness to do so, by their understanding and their ability to translate some of the things we're trying to say in a way that works for them. And we need that. Because this pandemic is not ending soon. This pandemic that we're all tired of — so very tired of — will be going on now well into 2021, into 2022.”

The measures that define the new normal will be around for a long time, he said.

“The way that we address that and the way we deal with it as a society has to be by choice, and by engagement and by talking to each other by encouraging one another,” he said.

“And when we fall, helping one another.”

Dix said, on occasion, surveillance and enforcement will be applied. This weekend it already was, he said, and there’s been a closure of several bars, restaurants and a nightclub following transmission events.

The larger concern, at the moment, is the gatherings in homes. 

The number of cases in Vancouver Coastal Health is 1,419, there are 2,425 cases in the Fraser Health Authority, 154 cases in Vancouver Island Health, 405 in the Interior Health Authority and 117 in Northern Health Authority.

There are 74 cases from outside of Canada, currently, in British Columbia. There are also 743 active cases of COVID-19 and 2,286 people in British Columbia are currently under active public health monitoring. Two more people have died this weekend, raising the total across B.C. to 198.

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