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Active COVID-19 infections in B.C. pass 10,000 for the first time

There were 2,146 new COVID-19 cases detected and 49 more deaths in B.C. in the past three days
Dr Bonnie Henry updates the media on the most recent number of coronavirus cases in British Columbia. Photo by B.C. Government

While COVID-19 vaccinations are set to start in B.C. tomorrow (December 15), the number of new COVID-19 infections identified in B.C. stayed elevated over the weekend, with a total of 2,146 cases detected in the past three days.

The 698 new cases on December 12, 689 new cases on December 13 and 759 new cases in the past 24 hours pushed the total number of infections in the province to 42,943 since late January. 

The new cases helped push the total number of people fighting active infections above 10,000 for the first time, as that number is now 10,039. The vast majority of those infected have been told to self-isolate at home, although 359 people are sick enough to be in the hospital, with a record 87 people continuing to be in intensive care units.

B.C. conducted 11,142 tests in the past day, so the positive-test rate was 6.8%, or within the range of the past week.

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry told media that 49 people died from COVID-19 over the past three days, but did not break those deaths out on a daily basis. In total, 647 people have died from the novel coronavirus in B.C. since the first Canadian death from the disease was recorded at North Vancouver's Lynn Valley Care Centre on March 9.

There are another 11,177 people who health officials are closely monitoring because the individuals have had known contact with identified cases. 

More than 72% of those who have been infected, or 31,207 people, have recovered. 

Here is a breakdown of the new cases by health region:
• 300 (14%) in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• 1,474 (68.7%) in Fraser Health;
• 29 (1.3%) in Island Health;
• 250 (11.6%) in Interior Health;
• 91 (4.2%) in Northern Health; and
• two people who reside outside B.C.

Henry said three new outbreaks have taken place at seniors' care facilities:
• Jubilee Lodge in Prince George;
• Fraserview Intermediate Care Lodge in Richmond; and
• Villa Caritol in Vancouver.

She added that seven outbreaks have been declared over. That includes one outbreak at the Fellburn Care Centre's pathology ward. A separate outbreak continues at Fellburn Care Centre's long-term care areas.

The six facilities that she said are newly clear of outbreaks include:
• Amica White Rock in White Rock;
• Fleetwood Villa Retirement Residence in Surrey;
• The Residence in Mission;
• Windermere Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Tsawaayuss-Rainbow Gardens in Port Alberni; and
• West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni.

This leaves 63 active outbreaks at healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and seniors homes. In total there are 1,305 residents and 726 staff infected in those outbreaks. 

Henry said that her officials have been providing updates specifically on the state of the virus in seniors' facilities since the beginning of the pandemic because of the severity of the illness in residents. 

"It is tragic," she said. "We're all at risk, and that puts our long-term care homes at risk, too."

Henry then got emotional, and her voice cracked, when speaking about the virus in those homes. 

"It breaks my heart every time a single person passes away from this virus," she said. "We are doing everything we can to keep it out of care homes. Once it gets into long-term care homes, it just passes so quickly. And that is our big challenge right now, especially right now. And this is why our focus is on protecting people as soon as we possibly can."

The seven B.C. hospitals, or acute-care facilities, with active outbreaks are:
• University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George.
• Saanich Peninsula Hospital in Saanichton;
• Langley Memorial Hospital in Langley;
• Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver;
• Richmond Hospital in Richmond;
• Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey; and
• Villa Caritol in Vancouver.

The seniors' facilities include 14 active outbreaks in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, at:
• Arbutus Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Banfield Pavilion, in Vancouver;
• Revera Capilano Care Centre in West Vancouver;
• Columbus Residence in Vancouver;
• Crofton Manor in Vancouver;
• Fraserview Intermediate Care Lodge in Richmond;• German Canadian Care Home in Vancouver;
• German Canadian Benevolent Society Home in Vancouver
• Little Mountain Place in Vancouver;
• Renfrew Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Royal Arch Masonic Home long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• St. Judes Anglican Home in Vancouver;
• Three Links Care Centre long-term care facility in Vancouver; and
• Villa Cathay Care Home in Vancouver.

The 35 outbreaks at seniors' facilities in the ​Fraser Health region include:
• Agassiz Seniors Community in Agassiz;
• Agecare Harmony Court Estates in Burnaby;
• Agecare Court Estates in Burnaby;
• Al Hogg Pavilion in White Rock;
• Amenida Seniors Community in Surrey;
• Baillie House long-term care home in Maple Ridge;
• Belvedere Care Centre in Coquitlam;
• Bradley Centre in Chilliwack;
• CareLife Fleetwood in Surrey;
• Chartwell Langley Gardens in Langley;
• Chilliwack Lifestyles in Chilliwack;
• Courtyard Terrace in Burnaby;
• Fellburn Care Centre long-term care facility in Burnaby;
• Finnish Manor in Burnaby;
• Fort Langley Seniors Community in Fort Langley;
• George Derby Centre in Burnaby;
• Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre 2 long-term care facility in Delta;
• Harrison Pointe retirement home in Langley;
• Harrison at Elim Village in Surrey;
• Hilton Villa Care Centre in Surrey;
• Hollyrood Manor long-term care home in Maple Ridge;
• Lakeshore Care Centre in Coquitlam;
• Langley Gardens in Langley;
• Laurel Place long-term care facility in Surrey;
• Menno Home in Abbotsford;
• Morgan Place Care Society in Surrey;
• Northcrest Care Centre in Delta;
• Peace Arch Hospital Foundation Lodge in Surrey;
• PICS Assisted Living in Surrey;
• Queen's Park Care Centre in New Westminster;
• Royal City Manor in New Westminster;
• St. Michael's Centre in Burnaby;
• Tabor Home in Abbotsford;
• The Residence at Clayton Heights in Surrey; and
• White Rock Senior Village in White Rock.

There are three outbreaks at seniors' homes in Northern Health:
• North Peace Seniors Housing Society buildings in Fort St. John:
• Gateway House long-term care home in Prince George; and
• Jubilee Lodge in Prince George.

The Interior Health region has four seniors' facility outbreaks, at:
• McKinney Place Residential Care Facility in Oliver;
• Mountainview Village in Kelowna;
• Sun Pointe Village in Kelowna; and
• Village by the Station in Penticton.