Health officials in B.C. have confirmed another 83 infections of the novel coronavirus, driving the number of active cases to a new high of 775.

The latest COVID-19 update from the province, released in a written statement on Tuesday afternoon, brings the total number of cases to date to 4,677.

No new deaths have been recorded, but the number of patients in hospital has risen from four to six, with four people being treated in intensive care. To date, 198 people have died of the disease.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Réka Gustafson urged British Columbians to be more careful about preventing transmission of the virus.

“We need to continue to protect those who are most vulnerable — our seniors and Elders, and those with underlying health conditions — by thinking about who we are being exposed to, and who we may be exposing, when spending time with others,” they said in the statement.

“Seeing friends may seem safe, but if you are in close contact with an elderly family member, your visit may inadvertently put them at risk.”

The last few weeks have seen a surge in new COVID-19 cases, following B.C.’s much-touted earlier success at flattening the curve of infection. Not only does the province now have its highest ever number of active cases, but Saturday also marked the highest one-day total of new cases since the pandemic began, with 100 recorded.

Dix and Gustafson said Tuesday that as numbers continue to rise, B.C. needs to be able to trace the contacts of every person who tested positive for the virus.

“We need every new case of COVID-19 to be identified, traced and contained as quickly as possible to keep our curve where we need it to be,” they said.

“Hundreds of people are now self-isolating and under care, and we can support them to do that well. Because the virus can spread with very mild symptoms, it is essential that anyone advised to self-isolate stays home, and stays away from others, for the full 14-day period.”

Earlier Tuesday, the provincial government extended its state of emergency to Sept. 1.

“British Columbians have sacrificed a lot to keep transmission rates down, and now unsafe parties and gatherings are eroding that hard work. We’re committed to getting our province back on track and will be announcing enforcement action against those who continue to put others at risk,” Premier John Horgan said in a news release.

B.C. has been in a state of emergency because of COVID-19 since March 18.


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