Eight new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Northern Health region on Thursday – the highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic.
The previous high was five cases reported on April 18, according to data reported by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. The total number of cases in the north since the start of the pandemic increased from 69 to 77.
"We have had 30 new cases today, including a significant number of new cases in the Northern Health authority," Health Minister Adrian Dix said. "We're going to be dealing with this for months, and we need to recommit ourselves to following the public health orders of Dr. Bonnie Henry and others."
Neither Dix or provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provided any details about the cause of the spike in cases in the north. Earlier this week, it was identified that there was one Albertan worker at the Site C work camp who had tested positive.
The Haida Nation also issued an alert, warning there had been a confirmed case on Haida Gwaii this week.
Across the province, the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic increased to 3,392, Henry said. There were 304 active cases across B.C., with 16 of those people hospitalized – including three in critical care.
The B.C CDC reported three active cases in the north on Wednesday, with none of those patients hospitalized. The current number of active cases in the Northern Health region wasn't available as of Thursday afternoon.
Across the province, there are more than 1,000 people self-isolating because they've potentially been exposed to COVID-19, Henry said.
"A good portion of those people were exposed in the central Okanagan. Some of whom are people who have returned to other parts of the province. It shows us the actions of a few... can have a tremendous impact on all of us," Henry said. "Being around crowds, especially people you don't know, puts you and your family and friends at risk."
Henry announced there has been another death in the province, bringing the total to 190.
Earlier Thursday, Premier John Horgan expressed his disappointment seeing video and photos of an informal drum circle at Third Beach in Stanley Park in Vancouver attended by large groups of people, with little evidence they were maintaining a physical distance or wearing masks.
Horgan had a message for British Columbians, saying "Come on man, we're better than this."
“We have to appeal to people’s common sense and their general decency and their respect for their neighbours and their loved ones — that’s what we’re doing today, that’s what I’m trying to do today," he added.
“We’re only going to be able to defeat this if we do it together. The challenge ahead of us is enormous.”
— with files from Jess Fedigan and Arthur Williams in Prince George
Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at email@example.com.