Although B.C. has not made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, some business owners are requiring all customers to wear them before entering their store. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)

Although B.C. has not made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, some business owners are requiring all customers to wear them before entering their store. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)

B.C. ramps up COVID-19 testing as active cases near 800

A further 2,452 people are under active public health monitoring due to possible exposures

B.C. has recorded 68 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours.

That brings the total number of active confirmed cases as of Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 19) in the province to 798, health officials confirmed.

A further 2,452 people are under active public health monitoring due to possible exposures to others who are infected with the novel coronavirus.

Of the 4,745 people who have tested positive since January, 3,749 people have fully recovered.

“Currently, 10 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, four of whom are in intensive care,” Health Minister Adrian Dix and B.C.’s deputy provincial health officer, Dr. Réka Gustafson, said in a joint statement. “The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.”

There have been no new COVID-related deaths, keeping the total fatalities to 198 people.

On Wednesday, two Lower Mainland health authorities announced the expansion of testing centres – increasing the number of hours open and increasing staff on site to assist with administering COVID-19 tests.

“Testing for COVID-19 is an important part of our provincial pandemic response,” Dix and Gustafson said.

“We continue to step up the capacity, in each health region and in our labs, to match our public health activities.”

Those who suspect they have developed symptoms – no matter how mild – are being urged to self isolate and contact HealthLink BC at 811 to arrange for an assessment and test.

“If public health has advised you to self-isolate because you have been exposed to COVID-19, please follow their advice,” the statement reads. “Even if you have no symptoms, a negative test does not mean you can shorten the period of self-isolation.”

READ MORE: B.C. teachers’ union calls for remote learning option, stronger mask mandate

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“COVID-19 has meant doing things we have never done before. But let’s not forget this is not forever, only for now. Let’s continue to stay strong and push our curve down to where it belongs.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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