Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. Ontario’s overly cautious approach to COVID-19 testing is endangering lives and hindering efforts to rein in soaring infections that are ravaging long-term care facilities, filling ICU beds and lurking silently in communities, say critics alarmed by the province’s admission that labs can handle four times the number of tests they receive. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. reports 122 new COVID-19 cases as health officials urge smaller social circles

Health officials urge against shaming and blaming patients

B.C. reported 122 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday (Sept. 16), as the number of active cases topped 1,600.

The number of total confirmed cases since the pandemic began has increased to 7,498, while the number of people under public health monitoring has dropped just under 3,000 to 2,966. There are currently 1,614 active cases, 60 of whom are hospitalized and 23 in ICU.

There have been no new COVID-19 deaths, with the death toll remaining at 219.

“As we learn more and better understand where the risks exist, we will continue to adjust our COVID-19 approach and response in B.C. to protect those who are most vulnerable,” Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a joint statement.

Health officials urged British Columbians to not “blame and shame” people who get infected with the novel coronavirus, in fear of dissuading people from coming forward to get tested.

Dix and Henry also repeated their warning to shrink social circles, or “stick to six” as the health minister has dubbed it at prior press briefings.

“Large gatherings have been a steady source of transmission. However, many of the new cases we are seeing in the past weeks are from small gatherings where people see different groups of friends on different days – inadvertently spreading the virus to many people,” health officials said. They reminded people to stick to a self-contained bubble of six people, and not come into close contact with different groups and people regularly.

The province did not report any new outbreaks in health-care settings on Wednesday; the count remains at 14, with 11 in long-term care and three in acute care.

B.C. did announce that it will begin to post exposures to COVID-19 at schools on a public website, following weeks of criticism.

READ MORE: B.C. to begin publicly listing COVID-19 school exposure events

READ MORE: Vancouver airport to pilot pre-flight COVID-19 tests for select WestJet passengers


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