B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate continued a steep upward climb Thursday, with 1,293 new cases and an increase in people in hospital.
That’s a one-day record for the province, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the latest results may be adjusted after an issue with province-wide reporting in the past 24 hours. Henry reported that there are 336 people currently in hospital, 101 in intensive care and two additional deaths as of April 8.
The infection rate province-wide has been accelerating in recent days. B.C.’s COVID-19 daily cases topped 1,000 for the first time March 31 with 1,031 new confirmed tests, followed by 1,018 on April 2, 1,072 on April 3, 999 on Easter Sunday, 890 on Monday, 1,068 on Tuesday and 997 on Wednesday.
Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that as a result of the rising infections, a new order affecting workplaces is being implemented. Starting at midnight Sunday, April 11, WorkSafeBC inspectors can close a workplace if public health officials order it, based on three or more positive tests determined to be a result of work exposure. A list of closed workplaces will be posted publicly with the expected duration of the closure, Henry said.
Essential workplaces such as police, fire departments can’t be closed but will be supported to contain infections, such as an outbreak among Surrey firefighters that Fraser Health is dealing with.
Targeted workplace closures mean “we can avoid the need for sector closures, which are really a blunt tool,” Henry said.
The continuing vaccination program has kept senior care outbreaks down, with four currently active in long-term care or assisted living facilities, and seven in acute care areas of hospitals.