Forty-six dead from COVID in BC since Friday

British Columbia health officials say 46 people died from COVID-19 over the weekend, the highest number they have yet reported.

The figure brings the total number of deaths in B.C. to 441 and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says about 80 per cent died in long-term care facilities. She says the deaths reflect the challenges COVID-19 is creating and, as we face a "significant storm surge" in cases, she says we need to push back against the virus by continuing to reduce our contacts and stick with our households.

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None of the deaths were in the Northern Health region where the count remains at six.

Active cases in the region stood at a record 270 as of midday Monday, an increase of 39 over the weekend. As well, the number of COVID patients in hospital stood at 29, up by four, while those in intensive care totaled 12, up by three.

Meanwhile, Ecole College Heights Elementary School was added to the list of schools were there has been a possible exposure. November 19-20 and 20-24 were the dates where an exposure may have occurred.

"If your child’s school has been notified of an exposure, no action is required unless you are contacted by Public Health or are otherwise directed by school officials," Northern Health says in its online posting. "Public Health will contact you directly in case of any school exposure involving your child."

Henry also announced a total of 2,364 new cases across the provice, including all those diagnosed between Friday and Monday and another 277 historical cases added in a data correction.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said B.C.'s hospitals were at just under 70 per cent capacity and capacity in intensive care just under 53 per cent once the number of beds ready for a surge are taken into account. But he also noted Burnaby and Lions Gate hospitals are under "extraordinary stress."

"It reminds why we have to when in doubt rule things out," he said as he urged people to err on the side of caution rather than find ways around the orders issued by Henry to prevent the spread of the virus.

- with files from The Canadian Press

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