Five new COVID cases reported in north, B.C. in second wave, Henry says

Five new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Northern Health region on Monday, but the number of active cases in the region showed a slight decline from Friday.

On Monday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the total number of cases in the north since the start of pandemic rose to 355. On the same day, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control reported 14 active cases remaining in the north – down by one from Friday. The B.C. CDC reported one person hospitalized and in critical care with COVID-19 in the Northern Health region on Friday and again on Monday.

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Throughout B.C., there were 499 new cases of COVID-19 detected over the weekend, Henry said, bringing the province's total to date to 11,687.

"There has been some questions about a second wave. One can say we are in our second wave here in B.C.," Henry said. "We need to make sure we are doing what we can to prevent a steep or sharp increase in transmission."

B.C. is seeing increasing numbers of new cases again, as are many parts of Canada, the Unites States and around the world, she said. So far the increase hasn't been the rapid, exponential spread which has happened in some parts of the world, Henry said, but B.C. is not immune to that happening.

"What we're seeing around the world is a surge again," she said. "Right now we're holding our own, but we need to keep up those little sacrifices to keep our transmission low."

Doing the little things like staying two metres apart, and wearing a mask when that is not possible, washing hands regularly, keeping your social bubble small and staying home when sick can reduce the spread, she said, and prevent the province from having to re-close schools and businesses.

"I know that some things are easier to do than others," Henry said. "Please continue to do your part today, and every day."

The majority of the cases in the province are linked to small, known outbreaks, Henry said.B.C. is seeing fewer large spreading events than during the summer, when nightclubs were open and larger private parties were happening.

Henry said her focus has been on trying to reduce the situations where people can spread COVID-19 to large groups of people, while allowing as much normal activity to continue as possible.

"We're all trying to muddle through this together," she said.

Two additional deaths linked to COVID-19 were reported in B.C. over the weekend – one in the Fraser Health region and one in the Vancouver Coastal health region – bringing the province's death toll from the pandemic to 253.

Throughout B.C. there were 1,639 active cases of COVID-19 on Monday, Henry said, and 4,028 other people were being monitored for potential exposure. A total of 67 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the province, including 19 in intensive care.

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