Three COVID cases added to Northern Health total

Three more cases were recorded in Northern Health over the long weekend, public health officials said Tuesday.

Specific locations were not provided but Barkerville Gold Mines in Wells has confirmed that a contract employee tested positive offsite on Friday and could have been infectious while onsite from July 26 to 28.

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The company has temporarily shut down it drilling program and Northern Health has advised close contacts to self-isolate for 14 days and get tested for COVID-19 if symptoms develop.

"The individual has had six known close contacts within BGM and within the exploration contractor group. No personnel onsite, including the close contacts, currently have signs and symptoms of COVID-19," the company said in a statement. "To date, the affected employee had no known interaction within the community of Wells."

The additions raised the running count to 91 with 75 considered recovered, leaving 16 active cases in Northern Health. As of Thursday, 19 cases had reported over the previous two weeks according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control - all in the northwest region where an outbreak on Haida Gwaii had been declared.

For the province as a whole, 146 new cases were detected with no additions deaths.

Active cases have climbed to 319, while 3,273 people have recovered from the illness.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there are now 74 cases linked with an outbreak a fruit packing facility near Abbotsford.

She said one staff member at Maple Ridge Seniors Village has tested positive, while another health-care outbreak in Mission has been declared over, leaving three ongoing outbreaks at long-term care homes in the province.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said many of the latest cases stem from such events and the numbers serve as a reminder that people must adhere to public health rules this summer.

Henry said public health workers are tracing the contacts of almost all the new cases.

But she said that's possible because transmission remains low and residents must ensure it stays that way.

She said common factors in many of the latest cases include talking, laughing and sharing drinks and food, especially in indoor settings, as well as spending time in crowded areas.

- with files from The Canadian Press

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