COVID-19 in B.C.: Dr. Bonnie Henry issues warning as cases surge among young adults in Canada and U.S.

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      While yesterday’s daily B.C. COVID-19 update brought the grim news that there were several deaths over the weekend, today’s update brought good news.

      Meanwhile, as coronavirus cases surge among young adults across North America, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix addressed people of all ages about the potentially severe consequences of being infected.

      Daily update: July 7

      For today’s update, Dr. Henry and Dix issued a news release instead of holding a news briefing.

      In their joint statement, they confirmed 12 new cases in the province, which includes one epi-linked case (a case that meets the definition of COVID-19 but has not yet been verified by test results).

      Currently, there are 162 active cases in B.C.

      Since the pandemic began, there has been a cumulative total of 2,990 cases in the province, with 1,013 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,576 in Fraser Health, 133 in Island Health, 203 in Interior Health region and 65 in Northern Health.

      While there were six deaths over the weekend, there were no new deaths announced today, leaving the total at 183 people who have died.

      With no new health-care outbreaks and an outbreak at Abbotsford’s Tabor Home over, there remain outbreaks in two long-term care facilities (Vancouver’s Holy Family Hospital and Langley’s Maple Hill) and one in an acute-care unit.

      After yesterday’s briefing, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) announced there was a COVID-19 exposure event that took place in the bar and nightclub at Hotel Belmont in Downtown Vancouver on June 27 and 29 involving several individuals who tested positive.

      After today's statement was issued, VCH announced that another potential infection incident transpired at the No. 5 Orange strip club after an individual who was at the premises on July 1 tested positive. 

      Anyone who was at these locations should monitor themselves for symptoms, and immediately isolate themselves and call 811 to seek testing if symptoms develop.

      A total of 2,645 people have now recovered.

      Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam

      Youth and transmission

      Several reports have stated that the number of cases among young adults has been surging and may be driving the spread of the coronavirus.

      In Alberta, the majority of new cases since June have been among people between 20 and 39 years old. CBC News reported that many of these cases have been linked to social gatherings and parties, and involved drinks and food being shared.

      In Ontario, new cases were steadily increasing among persons younger than 20 years of age in June.

      In Montreal, a person who tested positive attended a party, resulting in 20 young adults becoming infected at two house parties.

      On June 29, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, stated at a news briefing that the number of cases among those younger than 40 years of age have composed a greater proportion of total cases in Canada since late May.

      She also said that many outbreaks have been linked to social events, including funerals and family gatherings. 

      In the U.S., where the number of cases continues to skyrocket, some major hotspots such as Arizona, Florida, and Texas are reporting that the largest number of cases is among those 20 to 40 years old, or that there have been significant spikes in this demographic group.

      A disturbing trend has been reported in Alabama involving youths throwing parties where attendees put money in a pot and the first attendee who tests positive wins the money.

      Although seniors have been identified as among those vulnerable to the virus and younger individuals were previously not thought to experience symptoms as severely, many young adults have since been hospitalized, required ventilators, or died.

      In Florida, a 17-year-old with a history of health issues died on June 23 after attending a church party without wearing a mask. 

      In Dr. Henry and Dix’s joint statement, they urged everyone to continue practising health precautions, as anyone can be infected.

      “Regardless of your age, we know that COVID-19 can cause severe and serious illness,” they said. “Until effective treatment or a vaccine is available, we all need to stay vigilant.”

      While B.C. is in Phase 3 of its reopening plan, Dr. Henry and Dix reminded everyone that increasing socializing also increases risk.

      “It is important to remember that the more people you see and the more places you go, the higher the likelihood is that you’ll come into contact with someone with COVID-19," they stated. “To protect yourself, the best things you can do are to keep the number of people you see to a minimum and as much as possible, maintain a safe distance from others and use a mask when that is challenging."

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