Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix give a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at the B.C. legislature, April 21, 2020. (B.C. government)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix give a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic at the B.C. legislature, April 21, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. records 625 more COVID-19 cases as holiday results come in

Dr. Bonnie Henry to announce Thursday if orders extended

B.C. public health officials reported another 625 cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, the highest total since New Year’s Eve as holiday season gathering and travel advisories are up for renewal.

There were eight more deaths reported for the 24 hours up to Jan. 6, with 381 people in hospital with COVID-19 related conditions, 78 in intensive care.

The update included 178 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 305 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 28 in the Island Health region, 71 in the Interior Health region, and 43 in the Northern Health region.

Public health authorities reported the latest new cases after the New Year weekend, showing no significant increase as the first days of holiday season activities began to show up with the incubation period of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. There were 565 cases reported Friday, New Year’s Day, 607 cases Saturday, 500 cases Sunday, 539 cases Monday and 428 on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is scheduled to speak about B.C.’s stricter private gathering rules and essential-only travel advisory on Thursday, with the current public health orders due to expire Friday. With an incubation period of between a week and two weeks, infections identified now are from exposures during the holiday season.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said Jan. 6 the latest case numbers are encouraging after what is usually one of the busiest shopping and socializing times of the year. Daily case numbers vary, with Tuesday results typically lower because they reflect tests conducted on Sunday. B.C. has the capacity for 20,000 tests a day and is currently doing less than half of that because resources are focused on people with symptoms or traced contacts, he said.

There have been two new outbreaks declared in the health care system, at Sunnybank Retirement Centre in Oliver and at Chilliwack General Hospital. Outbreaks at CareLife Fleetwood in Surrey and Crofton Manor retirement residence in Vancouver have been declared over.

RELATED: B.C. surgery wait list catching up from COVID-19 delays

RELATED: Second outbreak contained at Surrey care home


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