Active COVID cases in northern B.C. declining

Two new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Northern Health region, as the number of active cases in the north continued to decline.

In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and deputy minister of health Stephen Brown said the total number of cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Health region since the start of the pandemic rose to 345.

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On Thursday, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control reported the number of active cases in northern B.C. had dropped to 11, down from 16 earlier this week. One person in northern B.C. was hospitalized with COVID-19 and in intensive care.

"Today, we are announcing 142 new cases, including three epi-linked cases, for a total of 11,034 cases in British Columbia," Henry and Brown said. "There are 1,494 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, 3,683 people who are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases, and 9,257 people who tested positive have recovered."

Throughout B.C., 74 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, 24 of which were in intensive care, Henry and Brown said. No new COVID-related deaths were reported on Thursday, leaving the province's death toll from the pandemic at 250.

B.C. saw its first case of a COVID-related condition, which effects children.

"Today we are reporting B.C.'s first confirmed case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) in a child under the age of five years," Henry and Brown said. "The child was under investigation after showing symptoms of the syndrome and was confirmed with MIS-C when a COVID-19 serology test returned positive. The child has fully recovered and is at home."

Symptoms of MIS-C include: fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes and fatigue. In extreme cases, it can also include difficulty breathing, chest pain, confusion, inability to wake up or stay awake and blue-looking lips or face.

"An additional 16 children in B.C. have been investigated for possible MIS-C and did not meet the case definition, as none of them have been positive or had links to COVID-19," Henry and Brown said.

Thursday was International Handwashing Day, and Henry and Brown reminded British Columbians about the importance of good, regular hand washing in preventing illness.

"Washing our hands regularly is one of easiest and best ways for us to protect ourselves from COVID-19, influenza and common colds," they said. "When you come home, arrive at work or school, pause to wash your hands before doing anything else. And remember, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and dry them thoroughly."

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