Six British Columbians, all elderly, have died from COVID-19 since Friday, says provincial health officer Bonnie Henry.
The spike in deaths includes one death in June but which only recently was confirmed to be a result of the COVID-19 virus, Henry said.
"To lose six people, all in long-term care, over the last three days is a source of enormous grief," said BC Health Minister Adrian Dix.
There have been no new outbreaks in B.C. since Friday. There were 31 new confirmed cases since Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 2,978. Of that number, 2,629 people have recovered, leaving 166 active cases in B.C.
There are currently three long-term care facilities in B.C. with active cases of COVID-19, and one acute care facility.
Responding to a spike in cases in Seattle, and the question of whether public demonstrations may have contributed to the uptick, Henry was asked whether any cases in B.C. have been traced to large anti-racism public protests that took place in Vancouver in June. She said it appears those large gatherings did not result in any spread of the virus.
"Currently, we do not have any cases that have been associated with the protests that took place," Henry said. "In talking with my colleagues in the U.S., they also have not seen surges related to those activities."
The fact the protests were held outside may be one of the factors that limited the potential spread of the virus.
Henry, health authorities and long term care operators have been working together to relax the restrictions on visitations in long term care homes. Given the recent spike in deaths, Henry was asked if that did not raise concerns about reintroducing the virus into care homes.
She conceded that, once the virus is in a care home, the potential for it to kill elderly people is high.
"The good news is that we have reduced the amount of transmission in our community so much so that we have very people in hospital," she said. "We have very few people who are transmitting in our community, and that's why we feel we're at that balance where we need to allow more people to go into long-term care."
Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers for Monday, July 6, with numbers from Friday July 3, the last reporting period, in brackets:
New cases: 31 (13)
Total: 2,978 (2,947)
Active cases: 166 (162)
Recovered: 2,629 (2,608)
Hospitalized: 16 (19)
Intensive care: 4 (2)
Deaths: 183 (177)
Confirmed cases by region:
Vancouver Coastal Health:1,008
Fraser Health: 1,570
Northern Health: 65