Small rise in COVID cases expected, Henry says

B.C. saw 13 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, but none in the north, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a daily update.

Provincially the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic rose to 3,128, while it remained 65 in the Northern Health region. No new cases have been reported in the Northern Health region since June 8.

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The number of active cases in the province as of Tuesday was 209, with 14 patients hospitalized – including five in intensive care, Henry said. There were no new deaths linked to COVID-19 on Tuesday, leaving the province's death toll from the disease at 189.

The province is seeing a small increase in the number of new cases per day now that the province has been in Phase 3 of its recovery plan for a couple weeks, she said.

"With every increase in our activity, we increase our risk of transmission. This is not unexpected," she said. "We know there will be cases."

The important thing is to keep those numbers of cases manageable, so that the medical system doesn't get overwhelmed and so that public health officials are able to track the people who may have been exposed, she said.

"It was disturbing to me to see 20 – 25 one day. That is way above my comfort level," Henry said. "(But) 20 is still small, given our population. If it was 20 cases popping up in the community that weren't linked, that would be concerning."

The majority of cases in B.C. are linked to known outbreaks and exposures, she said.

British Columbians need to continue to practice the public safety measures in place around limiting groups, social distancing, hand washing, staying home when sick, and so on, she said. Those are the best defences against seeing a second spike in cases.

"This is how it's going to be," she said. "We have to continue to live with those limits until a treatment is available."

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