Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. sets single-day record with 139 new COVID-19 cases

Active cases of the novel coronavirus top 1,400

B.C. reported a record-high 139 new cases of COVID-19, but no deaths, on Thursday (Sept. 10), the first day that students have returned to classrooms for this school year.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there are 1,412 active cases of COVID-19, and a total of 3,109 under active public health monitoring. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 6,830 cases in B.C. Deaths remain at 213. There are 42 people in hospital, with 14 in ICU.

Henry said the number of hospitalizations, which has creeped up, was “worrisome,” but noted that many hospitals stays are short and people are discharged.

READ MORE: B.C. to expand COVID-19 testing, winter hospital bed capacity

Hundreds of thousands of students went back to school Thursday, amid concerns over how the virus could spread between teachers, students and their families.

“It’s going to be a learning experience,” Henry said, noting that the public will be informed if there are outbreaks at schools. Cases will be made known to the school community, while the larger community will be told if they are deemed at risk.

“We know that we’ll have cases that pop up [in schools],” she said. “If there’s no transmission event at school… that’s not considered a school case.”

Henry said she did not see a situation where schools would shut down altogether the way they did in March. However, if there were multiple exposures or outbreaks, a school could have to close until health officials could be certain that the virus was contained.

A ‘new normal’ for months, years

“We need to continue to find a balance,” Henry said, warning that B.C. could have to live with the virus for months or even years.

Health minister Adrian Dix summed it up in a new slogan.

“Stick to six,” he said, referring to the pandemic bubbles that health officials have asked British Columbians to retreat to in an attempt to minimize the spread of the virus as students go back to school.

Henry said although many of the new cases are among young people, that is a “warning sign” that the virus could spill over into older, more at-risk populations.

READ MORE: Thousands of students return to schools as new COVID-19 cases emerge

READ MORE: Lots to learn in COVID-19 orientation week for B.C. schools

READ MORE: A day before school starts, B.C. teachers’ union still worried over lack of remote learning

READ MORE: Nightclub closures, liquor sale limits a ‘punch in the gut,’ B.C. industry group says


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