Younger people help B.C. hit record number of active COVID-19 infections

There are now 1,175 British Columbians battling the virus that has caused a global pandemic

A record 1,175 British Columbians are fighting COVID-19 thanks to a surge in younger people getting infected, provincial health officer Bonnie Henry told media September 3.

There were 89 new cases of the virus recorded in the past 24 hours for a total of 6,041 British Columbians contracting the disease since COVID-19 was first detected in the province in January. 

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Henry said that the recent rise in cases has come thanks to younger people getting infected. 

She noted that in the 547 new cases identified last week, the average age of the patients dropped from being in the 50s to being 41.

Hospitalizations inched up to 34, which is the highest number since May 30, including 11 people who are in intensive care units.

"Hospitalizations have gone up slightly, but again, the hospitalization rate remains very low," Henry said. "It has actually come down from when we were in the midst of the first wave of this pandemic, where about 20% of our cases ended up in hospital, and that again reflects the fact that many of our new cases are younger people."

One senior has died from the disease in the past day, meaning that the death toll in the province from the disease has risen to 210. Another 4,644 people who had been infected have recovered. Information is not available on whether 12 infected people recovered or died, with one potential reason being that they could have been non-British Columbians who left the province.

Henry noted that the four deaths that were recorded last week were among older people.

"The median [death] age remains very high, reflecting that this virus is most lethal to our elders and seniors," she said. 

Health officials this week have been testing about 4,000 to 5,000 people per day – up about 20% from last week, Henry said.

The breakdown of all COVID-19 infections in the province by health region is:
• 2,012 in Vancouver Coastal Health (up 38);
• 3,155 in Fraser Health (up 43);
• 178 in Island Health (no change);
• 450 in Interior Health (up five);
• 167 in Northern Health (up three); and
• 79 people who reside outside Canada (no change).

While the virus has impacted all parts of B.C., and there have been significant outbreaks in areas such as Kelowna, Henry said that the "focus, really, of the outbreak now has returned to the Lower Mainland, where the majority of cases are."

Active outbreaks remain in two healthcare facilities: Surrey Memorial Hospital and New Westminster's Queen's Park Care Centre.

Two new healthcare facility outbreaks have arisen, with both involving a single person, Henry said. They are at Cherington Place seniors' living facility in Surrey and at Point Grey Private Hospital in Vancouver. The outbreak at Maple Ridge Seniors Village in Maple Ridge has been declared over.

Seniors' homes with active outbreaks include:
•Czorny Alzheimer Centre in Surrey;
•Normanna Living in Burnaby;
•Derby Manor in Burnaby;
•George Derby Centre in Burnaby;
•New Vista Care Home in Burnaby;
•MSA Manor long-term care facility in Abbotsford (second outbreak); and
•Bear Creek Villa in Surrey.

So far there have been 730 infections at seniors' homes, including 443 residents and 287 staff.

There are no new community outbreaks, Henry said.



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