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B.C. goes nine days without a COVID-19 death

New daily infections have averaged more than 30 in past five days
Dr. Bonnie Henry
B.C.'s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry has been holding regular press briefings on COVID-19

While the average number of new COVID-19 infections in B.C. has risen to be in the 30s, the good news is that the province has not announced a death from that virus since July 13 – nine days ago – and the death toll in B.C. has stayed at 189.

B.C.'s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry announced on July 22 that the province recorded 34 new cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours. That makes for an average of 33.2 cases per day in the past five days. The number of new daily cases has risen from being in the single digits, to the teens, and to the 20s to now consistently be in the 30s.

Henry said she is not surprised that the counts of new infections have been rising because restrictions on travel have loosened and B.C. residents are travelling more. One outbreak in Kelowna has spawned many dozen infections.

The breakdown of all COVID-19 infections by health region is:
• 1,049 in Vancouver Coastal Health (up six);
• 1,742 in Fraser Health (up 11);
• 141 in Island Health (up one);
• 304 in Interior Health (up 13);
• 69 in Northern Health (no change); and
• 57 people who reside outside Canada (up three).

There are 285 people actively fighting the disease in the province – the highest since May. Of those, 17 are in hospital, including three people in intensive care units. More than 85.9% of those who have been infected have recovered.

There is one active outbreak at a seniors' long-term care home – Holy Family Hospital – as well as two acute care outbreaks: St. Paul's Hospital and Mission Memorial Hospital. 

So far, 659 people have had infections that were connected to seniors' care homes, including 403 residents and 256 staff.

Many of the new infections have been among young people, however, and to that end, Henry said that restrictions on nightclubs will tighten.

Restrictions will include that bars and clubs keep all patrons in designated seats at their tables, allow no self-service for liquor, close off dance floors for dancing and have measures in place to reduce line-ups to ensure social distancing is being followed. Henry said that some establishments have been bending these rules and that some have allowed patrons to stand at tables, for example.

The limit of six people per table is still in effect, and tables are not able to be placed together in restaurants or bars.

"We're putting in some things to make it a calmer environment," Henry said. "As well, limiting the hours for events. It used to be we didn't have a restriction on hours so we're looking at limiting the hours to 11 p.m."

She said that earlier closing times for events would mean that people would not be out later at night, when they are more likely to have had more alcohol to drink and would be less inhibited and are more likely to break social distancing rules.

"We need to play safe to stay safe," she said. 

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