Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says even though vaccines are on the way, B.C. should not lose focus on what must be done over the holiday season.
Matching the year, she announced 2,020 new positive tests for the virus across the province since Friday (Dec. 4), the grand total now at 38,152, as she also implemented the extension of current public health orders for the holiday season.
Of those new infections, Northern Health added a whopping 106 over the weekend, eclipsing a major milestone since it first hit the region in March to 1,084.
Hospitalizations in the north have gone up to 42 people, according to Health Minister Adrian Dix following Dr. Henry's opening remarks, which includes 13 in critical care.
B.C.'s death toll also went over a significant plateau to 527 since the pandemic began in January after 35 people passed away from the virus since Friday, the most the province has recorded in a three-day period and none of which took place in Northern Health.
The latest three-day case counts are as follows:
- 647 = Friday to Saturday
- 24 in Northern Health
- 726 = Saturday to Sunday
- 58 in Northern Health
- New 24-hour record for the region
- 58 in Northern Health
- 647 = Sunday to Monday
- 21 in Northern Health
Dr. Henry also issued what she referred to as 'good news' as she expects the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in B.C. by next week.
However, she has also extended key public health orders in place by a month into early January.
Henry extended all provincial orders through until Jan. 8, 2021, including the mandatory mask order in all indoor public and retail spaces, the ban on household gatherings and general public events.
Henry, however, is allowing drive-thru and drive-in related events for the holiday season as it permits residents to stay inside their vehicles.
“We can still be festive, we can still connect with family in a safe and virtual way," Dr. Henry in a plea to the public.
"And, in many cases, we’ve seen so many ways that people have done this and we will need people to continue to follow these guidelines.”
The travel ban for sports teams outside their own community also remains in effect, as well as indoor and outdoor sports for adults aged 19 and over.
There are currently 9,380 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C., which includes 349 people in hospital, 77 of whom are in critical care.
Across the province, there are 10,747 people being actively monitored for the virus after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus, while 27,287 have recovered.
There are 356 active cases in Northern Health's region.
In Prince George, six more flights have been flagged by WestJet for virus exposure, all are between YXS and Vancouver, but no specific rows have been stated as of this publication:
- Nov. 23 = Flight 3297 from Vancouver to Prince George
- Nov. 24 = Flight 3290 from Prince George to Vancouver
- Nov. 24 = Flight 3277 from Vancouver to Prince George
- Nov. 24 = Flight 3282 from Prince George to Vancouver
- Nov. 26 = Flight 3287 from Vancouver to Prince George
- Nov. 27 = Flight 3290 from Prince George to Vancouver
After Northern Health detected its first lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 on March 9, there have been 17 Prince George flights marked for the virus.
The others are:
- March 5 = Air Canada flight 8209 from Vancouver to Prince George - rows nine to 15
- March 12 = Central Mountain Air flight 9M728 from Prince George to Kelowna - rows not reported
- March 15 = Central Mountain Air flight 9M725 from Kelowna to Prince George - rows not reported
- Aug. 21 = Air Canada flight 8212 from Prince George to Vancouver - rows six to 12
- Aug. 24 = Flair Air flight 8711 from Vancouver to Prince George - rows 26 to 32
- Aug. 24 = Flair Air flight 8711 from Prince George to Edmonton - rows 26 to 32
- Oct. 13 = Flair Air flight 8187 from Prince George to Edmonton - rows 10 to 16
- Oct. 18 = Air Canada flight 8209 from Vancouver to Prince George - rows eight to 14
- Oct. 18 = Flair Air flight 8186 from Edmonton to Prince George - rows two to six
- Oct. 31 = Flair Airlines flight 8186 from Edmonton to Prince George - rows not reported
- Nov. 2 = Flair Airlines flight 8187 from Prince George to Edmonton - rows 26-32
- Nov. 10 = Air Canada flight 8201 from Vancouver to Prince George - rows one to seven
Two more Prince George schools were also added to Northern Health's list of COVID-19 exposure events.
The authority says people in the Heather Park Elementary community could have been exposed on Nov. 27, while Shas Ti Kelly Road Secondary has been listed for Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 to 2.