For the third day in a row, a record number of people are fighting COVID-19 infections in British Columbia. The count rose to 798 on August 19, up from 775 on August 18 and 743 on August 17
Before this week, the highest number of active COVID-19 infections in B.C. was 717, on April 28.
The rise comes as the new infections outpace recoveries. The province today recorded 68 new cases, bringing the total number of people infected to 4,745 since January 28, when the first case of COVID-19 was discovered in the province. Only 45 people recovered from the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 3,749, according to data from Health Minister Adrian Dix and deputy provincial health officer Réka Gustafson.
The breakdown of COVID-19 infections by health region is:
• 1,488 in Vancouver Coastal Health (up 41);
• 2,493 in Fraser Health (up 20);
• 158 in Island Health (up two);
• 411 in Interior Health (up four);
• 120 in Northern Health (no change); and
• 75 people who reside outside Canada (up one).
The good news is that there were no new deaths recorded, leaving the death toll from the virus at 198. Hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions remain comparatively low.
The province has 10 people in hospital with COVID-19 (up four from yesterday) while four people are in intensive care units, which is up one from yesterday. The vast majority of those infected are self-isolating at home.
One health facility has an outbreak: New Westminster's Queen's Park Care Centre.
The outbreak at Richmond Lions Manor in Richmond has been declared over, leaving eight active outbreaks at seniors' homes:
•Holy Family Hospital in Vancouver;
•Arbutus Care Centre in Vancouver;
•Czorny Alzheimer Centre in Surrey;
•Dania Home in Burnaby;
•Derby Manor in Burnaby;
•George Derby Centre in Burnaby;
•New Vista Care Home in Burnaby; and
•Maple Ridge Seniors Village in Maple Ridge.
Gustafson and Dix said in a joint statment that the province is stepping up testing for the virus that has spawned a global pandemic.
"We know as the number of new cases increases, demand for testing also goes up," they said.
"That is why each health region has been working to add further assessment and testing capacity. New assessment and testing centres and extended hours of service have been added in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions to address increases in demand. Today, we have the ability to complete approximately 8,000 tests every day."
Testing is key because it allows government researchers to trace and contain the spread of the disease, they said, adding that provincial capacity is now up to around 8,000 tests per day.
"The tests tell us who is positive for the virus, as well as how far the virus may have spread among close contacts when an outbreak or community cluster occurs," they said.
Anyone with symptoms is eligible to be tested and healh officials say getting tested is only recommended if people are showing symptoms. Typical symptoms include a dry cough, fever and difficulty discerning flavours in food.
Those who think they have these symptoms are asked to keep their distance from others, and to phone 8-1-1, or their health-care provider to arrange for an assessment.