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Northern Health breaks single-day COVID-19 case count, adds another death

There were nine other deaths in B.C.
B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (via Government of B.C. Flickr)

High COVID-19 numbers continue in B.C., a day after Dr. Bonnie Henry added new orders in the province in hopes of containing rapid spread and transmission. 

In a written statement this afternoon (Nov. 20), Henry announced another 516 positive cases in the past 24 hours for a new provincial total of 25,474 since the pandemic struck in January. 

Out of the newly recorded cases, the provincial health officer said Northern Health tallied 25 for a new authority total of 588 since March. The 25 newly diagnosed cases is a single-day record for the region.

The north has had 487 recoveries of its 588 recorded total which is 83 per cent. 

There are 7,122 people listed as active for COVID-19; 227 are in hospital and 57 of whom are in critical care. Northern Health currently has 95 cases considered active and 10 hospitalized with eight in critical care.

Officials announced 10 new virus-linked deaths in the past day, which brings the new provincial fatality rate to 331. One of those deaths has occurred in the north, increasing its toll to six.

Northern Health has confirmed to PrinceGeorgeMatters the death was a man in his 80s.

Across B.C., a total of 17,477 cases are considered to be fully recovered and no longer require self-isolation. 

Yesterday (Nov. 19), the orders previously applied throughout Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health were extended to every authority in B.C. for the next two weeks ending Dec. 7.

Henry made a shocking announcement in issuing an order approval to the Public Safety and Solicitor General that will mandate masks to be worn in all indoor public and retail spaces after businesses asked her for stricter guidelines.

Employees and customers are required to wear face-coverings when visiting a business, except when doing activities like eating or drinking.

Masks do not need to be worn while sitting at your desk, but must be worn in public corridors such as hallways, lobbies and elevators.

She also issued new restrictions on social gatherings, religious services and travel. 

“We are all feeling the strain of COVID-19," Henry said in today's statement (Nov. 20).

"By taking a step back right now, we will all be able to enjoy the confidence in knowing that here in B.C. we have flattened our curve once again."

It the north, BC Hydro announced this afternoon there have been four new cases confirmed at its Site C dam site in Fort St. John. 

The provincial service says all infections are with contract workers, who were all part of the same crew at site.

BC Hydro further explains three are currently isolating at the work camp, while a fourth is isolating at home after they were detected upon returning home from their shift rotation.

“As a precautionary measure, all remaining members of this work crew have also been isolated in camp or at home,” BC Hydro said in a notice.

“None of the workers who tested positive left camp or had any interaction with the local community.”

Another outbreak was declared in the north yesterday at the LNG Canada Project Site in Kitimat where 14 employees tested positive for the virus and have gone into self-isolation, along with any close contacts.

JGC Fluor is the prime contractor, the authority says, and contact management and tracing ‘have gone well’ since the outbreak was detected and will remain in place for a minimum of 28 days.

There are 32 other employees at the LNG project and are self-isolating themselves at the work site, while the rest are doing so in their own home community.

“Northern Health, LNG Canada, and JGC Fluor have been working together on planning, preparing and implementing COVID-19 measures since early spring and continue to work closely to ensure enhanced control measures are followed, to protect the health of all staff,” a news release on Nov. 19 said.

“Northern Health is working with the BCCDC to ensure communication with the health authorities or jurisdictions of the affected employees’ home communities.”

The authority also issued an exposure alert for North Peace Secondary School, saying people could have potentially been exposed on Nov. 10, 12, 13 and 16. 

The 15 other northern B.C. schools have been flagged for possible COVID-19 exposure, including four in Prince George are as follows: 

  • North Peace Secondary (SD60) - Nov. 10, 12, 13, 16, 2020
  • Chetwynd Secondary School (SD59) - Nov. 13, 2020
  • Van Bien Elementary School (SD57) - Nov. 9-10, 2020
  • Hudson's Hope Elementary-Junior Secondary (SD60) - Oct. 26-Nov. 4, 2020
  • Ron Brent Elementary School (SD57) - Oct. 30, 2020
  • Roosevelt Park Elementary School (SD52) - Oct. 21-22, 2020
  • Immaculate Conception School (Independent, Diocese of Prince George) - Oct. 21-23, 2020
  • Fort Nelson Secondary School (SD81) - Oct. 15-16, 2020
  • Notre Dame School (Private) - Oct. 13-14, 2020
  • Prince George Secondary School (SD57) - Oct. 2, 2020
  • Dawson Creek Secondary School - South Peace Campus (SD59) - Sept. 23-25, 2020
  • David Hoy Elementary School (SD91) - Sept. 17-18, 2020
  • Quesnel Junior Secondary School (SD28) - Sept. 10-11, 15-18, 2020
  • Nak’albun Elementary School (Independent) - Sept. 16-18, 2020
  • Ecole Frank Ross Elementary School (SD59) - Sept. 10-11, 2020

Should a student or teacher receive a positive COVID-19 test in any case, Northern Heath's school notification process is as follows:

  • Contact tracing is initiated to determine how the individual was infected and who they were in close contact with
  • We identify and notify close contacts who may be at an increased risk, and advise them to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days
  • Only Public Health can determine who is a close contact
    • Learning groups, friends or other connections may not be determined to be a close contact
  • Public Health staff works closely with the school and school district throughout the case and contact management process to maintain close communication with the school community

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