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COVID-19 UPDATE: 21 new cases, including three epi-linked cases

The Health Ministry announced 21 new cases, including three epi-linked cases, for a total of 3,170 cases in British Columbia.

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:

"(Thursday), we are announcing 21 new cases, including three epi-linked cases, for a total of 3,170 cases in British Columbia.

"There are 192 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 2,789 people who tested positive have recovered.

"Of the total COVID-19 cases, 15 individuals are hospitalized, three of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 1,028 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,667 in the Fraser Health region, 136 in the Island Health region, 223 in the Interior Health region, 65 in the Northern Health region and 51 cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

"There have been no new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 189 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks. In total, two long-term care or assisted-living facilities and one acute-care facility have active outbreaks.

"There is one active community outbreak, in addition to several community exposure events, where alerts have been issued.

"COVID-19 has had a profound impact on everyone in British Columbia. It has touched all of our lives in so many ways.

"Every day we learn more about the virus, about our ability to protect ourselves and about the disheartening societal effects of this pandemic.

"Wednesday, a number of scientists from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and University of British Columbia, with support from LifeLabs and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, released a study outlining the results of initial serology testing within our province. This was the first report of its kind released in Canada.

"The study has some important lessons for all of us that can guide our actions and decision-making in the weeks ahead. This study can be found on the BCCDC website.

"As the report notes, we have been effective in flattening the curve in B.C. by following the precautions we have set. We have some of the lowest infection rates in North America.

"However, there is still community transmission as evidenced by the rate of infections in the samples.

"The study also shows us that our province does not have sufficient immunity to prevent a second wave. That is why continuing with the measures we have in place is vital to keeping us all safe.

"Using our layers of protection and following our foundational rules for safe social interactions is our path forward.

"We have been able to restart much of our economy and see our friends once again, but not everyone is weathering this storm.

"Today, the BC Coroners Service released its illicit drug death report for June. We have had a record 175 people who have died in B.C. in June.

"This is a tragedy for everyone in British Columbia, especially for the families and friends who have lost loved ones.

"Many people are struggling. We need to reach out to our friends and family, so they know they are not alone and have the support to stay safe.

"A safer supply and decriminalization of people who use drugs are important steps. So is each of us paying attention and reaching out to those who may be feeling the effects of isolation more.

"Having healthy communities requires us to keep COVID-19 low and slow. It also requires us to show kindness and compassion to our neighbours, our friends and our loved ones; to care and support each other through both our public health emergencies."