B.C. surpassed 20,000 cases of COVID-19 in November, with cases climbing exponentially heading into the flu season. Health authorities have expressed concern that if the trend continues, it will put the province in dangerous territory.
Provincewide numbers mask the fact that most new infections are occurring in the Lower Mainland. The Fraser Health Authority has been particularly hard hit.
The latest totals
As of November 12, new cases of the coronavirus were doubling every two weeks , according to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
“We’re starting to lose our ability to manage every case,” she said during a daily coronavirus update.
Hospitalizations and patients
Hospitalizations have also been increasing, and while deaths have not seen exponential growth, there is concern that could happen if the cases continue to spike.
By mid-November, critical care beds up around the province were beginning to fill, although Adrian Dix, the Minister of Health, noted that none of the “surge beds” that had been put in place during the spring were in use.
Keeping case counts low is essential in order to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed and allowing surgeries and other hospital care to continue uninterrupted.
Outside of Fraser and Vancouver Coastal, hospitalizations and ICU admissions due to COVID-19 have remained relatively stable. Northern Health saw a brief spike in September but numbers have fallen since then.
Elderly are disproportionately affected
While British Columbians under 40 make up roughly half of all COVID-19 cases, deaths due to the coronavirus were heavily concentrated among those over 80.
School exposures concentrated in Lower Mainland
As of November 5, there have been 261 school exposures in B.C. — about 13 per cent of the province’s schools have had an exposure. Two-thirds occurred at schools in the Fraser Health Authority.
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