Fresh outbreaks prompt new COVID-19 infections in B.C. to rise

Coronavirus outbreak found at St. Paul's Hospital; exposures at the Sandman Suites hotel and the Site C work camp

New sources of infection were partly responsible for B.C.'s number of new COVID-19 infections jumping to 28 – the highest in more than two months – on July 17, making the total number of people infected in the province 3,198, since the virus first arrived in January.

One new source of infection is the neonatal unit at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver's West End. A potential community exposure was at the Sandman Suites Hotel on Davie Street between July 7 and July 16, where provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said "there were a number of healthcare workers who were staying at that hotel."

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One worker, originally from Alberta, was at the province's Site C work camp and has tested positive for the disease that has caused a global pandemic.

Contact tracing is being done in all of these cases.

Flare ups are also continuing at the Krazy Cherry Fruit Co. in Oliver, where there are a total of four cases, and in Kelowna, where a total of 35 people have so far been infected in an outbreak spawned on the Canada Day long weekend.

Henry said that fewer than 10 people were exposed to the virus at the St. Paul's Hospital outbreak but that some of those were infants. At least one baby has tested positive for the virus.

"Vancouver Coastal [Health region] is still looking at how the virus was introduced," she said.

"There is nobody who is very ill. Everybody is being monitored carefully and they have taken steps to make sure that there is adequate support in a separate physical area with separate staff so there is no risk to neonates at St. Paul's right now."

The good news is that the outbreak at the Langley seniors' living facility Maple Hill has been declared over. 

That leaves one active out break at a seniors' long-term care home – Holy Family Hospital – as well as two acute care outbreaks: St. Paul's Hospital and Mission Memorial Hospital. 

To date, 401 residents and 255 staff have caught COVID-19 infections at B.C. seniors' homes.
The breakdown of all COVID-19 infections by health region is:
• 1,032 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• 1,676 in Fraser Health;
• 136 in Island Health;
• 235 in Interior Health;
• 68 in Northern Health; and
• 51 people who reside outside Canada.

More than 87.6% of infected people have recovered from the disease, while 189 have died and 207 are actively fighting the ailment. The vast majority of infected patients are self-isolating at home, although 18 are in hospital, including two who are in intensive care units. 

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom 

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