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B.C.'s COVID-19 death toll continues to rise, with 11 people passing away in past day

Health Minister releases latest data on Twitter before official government release
Health Minister Adrian Dix broke tradition by releasing COVID-19 news on Twitter

B.C.'s death toll from COVID-19 has risen to 724, due to 11 new fatalities in the past day, Health Minister Adrian Dix tweeted at 3:23 p.m. on December 18, ahead of the usual official government announcement.

He followed that up with tweets saying that 356 individuals are in hospital, with 92 of those in intensive care.

"There has been no new health-care facility outbreaks," Dix continued in a follow-up tweet. "There has been one new community outbreak at Rossdown Natural Foods."

Yesterday, 1,376 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were given to B.C. front-line, health-care workers, for a total of 2,592 doses to date, according to another of Dix's follow-up tweets.

The official government statement with full data was released at 4:15 p.m.

It noted that the number of British Columbians actively fighting COVID-19 fell by 31 overnight, to 9,978. The vast majority of those people have been told to self-isolate at home. 

There were 624 new infections detected in the past day, bringing the total to 45,400 cases since the virus was first detected in the province on January 28. With 11,529 COVID-19 tests administered in the past 24 hours, the positive-test rate was 5.4%, according to the province's online COVID-19 dashboard. Almost 74% of those who have been infected, or 33,589 people have recovered.

The Fraser Health region remains the hot-spot for new infections in the province.

Here is a breakdown of where new cases were identified:
• 106 people in Vancouver Coastal Health (17%);
• 406 people in Fraser Health (65%);
• five in Island Health (0.8%);
• 60 in Interior Health (9.6%);
* 47 in Northern Health (7.5%); and
• no new cases in people who reside outside the province.

Health officials are actively monitoring 10,211 people for infections because they have had known contact with at least one person who has an identified case of the virus. 

Dix yesterday said 1,235 people have been hired as part of the government's contact-tracing initiative. 

"Our target was to hire 1,224 positions," he said. "100% of this new target is now complete. In addition, we've had additional supports from Statistics Canada. We're actively working with the Red Cross and others to help run our logistics, and run the operational center of the regional contact tracing hub at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Center."

Dix said that in addition to those hired, 385 candidates are in the interview stage, while 121 candidates are in what he called "the offer" stage.

No outbreaks at healthcare facilities were declared over. 

That leaves six B.C. hospitals, or acute-care facilities, with active outbreaks. They are:
• Saanich Peninsula Hospital in Saanichton;
• Langley Memorial Hospital in Langley;
• Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver;
• Richmond Hospital in Richmond;
• Surrey Memorial Hospital in Surrey; and
• Burnaby Hospital in Burnaby.

There are 56 seniors' homes and care facilities with active outbreaks across the province, including 15 such outbreaks in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. They are at:
• Arbutus Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Banfield Pavilion, in Vancouver;
• Revera Capilano Care Centre in West Vancouver;
• Columbus Residence in Vancouver;
• Crofton Manor in Vancouver;
• Fraserview Intermediate Care Lodge in Richmond;
• German Canadian Benevolent Society Home in Vancouver
• Little Mountain Place in Vancouver;
• Renfrew Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Royal Arch Masonic Home long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• St. Judes Anglican Home in Vancouver;
• Sunrise of Vancouver, in Vancouver;
• Three Links Care Centre long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Villa Carital in Vancouver; and
• Villa Cathay Care Home in Vancouver.

The 35 outbreaks at seniors' facilities in the ​Fraser Health region include:
• Agassiz Seniors Community in Agassiz;
• Agecare Harmony Court Estates in Burnaby;
• Agecare Court Estates in Burnaby;
• Al Hogg Pavilion in White Rock;
• Amenida Seniors Community in Surrey;
• Baillie House long-term care home in Maple Ridge;
• Belvedere Care Centre in Coquitlam;
• Bradley Centre in Chilliwack;
• CareLife Fleetwood in Surrey;
• Chartwell Langley Gardens in Langley;
• Chilliwack Lifestyles in Chilliwack;
• Courtyard Terrace in Burnaby;
• Fellburn Care Centre long-term care facility in Burnaby;
• Finnish Manor in Burnaby;
• Fort Langley Seniors Community in Fort Langley;
• George Derby Centre in Burnaby;
• Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre 2 long-term care facility in Delta;
• Harrison Pointe retirement home in Langley;
• Harrison at Elim Village in Surrey;
• Hilton Villa Care Centre in Surrey;
• Hollyrood Manor long-term care home in Maple Ridge;
• Lakeshore Care Centre in Coquitlam;
• Langley Gardens in Langley;
• Laurel Place long-term care facility in Surrey;
• Menno Home in Abbotsford;
• Morgan Place Care Society in Surrey;
• Northcrest Care Centre in Delta;
• Peace Arch Hospital Foundation Lodge in Surrey;
• PICS Assisted Living in Surrey;
• Queen's Park Care Centre in New Westminster;
• Royal City Manor in New Westminster;
• St. Michael's Centre in Burnaby;
• Tabor Home in Abbotsford;
• The Residence at Clayton Heights in Surrey; and
• White Rock Senior Village in White Rock.

The three outbreaks at seniors' homes listed in Northern Health are:
• North Peace Seniors Housing Society buildings in Fort St. John:
• Rotary Manor Dawson Creek in Dawson Creek; and
• Jubilee Lodge in Prince George.

The Interior Health region has three seniors' facility outbreaks, at:
• McKinney Place Residential Care Facility in Oliver;
• Mountainview Village in Kelowna; and
• Village by the Station in Penticton.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom