B.C. reports 366 new COVID-19 cases over three days as election campaign begins

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (BC Government Flickr)

B.C.’s provincial health officer on Monday reported 366 new cases of COVID-19 over a three-day period as well as four new deaths.

Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed 121 cases from Friday to Saturday, 117 cases from Saturday to Sunday, and 128 cases from Sunday to Monday. Seven of the cases were epi-linked. The four deaths bring the province’s COVID-19 death toll to 227.

B.C.’s active cases climbed to 1,987 — an increase of 184 from the last update on Friday.

The number of people in hospital rose by one to 60. Twenty-one patients are in intensive care.

In total, B.C. has confirmed 8,208 cases of COVID-19. About 3,200 people are in self-isolation due to potential exposure.

Read more: British Columbians heading to the polls on October 24 in fall election

Monday’s update came hours after B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24.

“This pandemic will be with us for a year or more, and that’s why I believe we need to have an election now,” he said.

“We can either delay that decision and create uncertainty and instability over the next 12 months … or we can do what I believe is always the right thing and ask British Columbians what they think.”

Henry said the province’s pandemic response will continue during the campaign.

She said her powers under the Public Health Act allow her to take actions and issue orders independently.

She will meet daily with deputy health minister Stephen Brown, and they both will be in contact with Adrian Dix, the NDP Incumbent who was health minister, and Carole James, the longtime cabinet member who is not running for re-election and who has been tasked with managing the government during the election campaign.

Dix did not join Henry at Monday’s briefing and will not be part of televised COVID-19 updates ahead of the October vote.

Henry said she has worked with Elections BC since March to ensure guidelines are in place to keep everyone safe both during the campaign and on election day.

Asked whether Horgan consulted with her about calling an election, Henry said no.

“I was not asked for advice on timing of an election,” she said. “That is part of the political process that I am not part of, so I would not expect to have been asked.”

Several additional COVID-19 exposures have been reported at B.C. schools, including 14 in the Surrey School District.

— With files from Simon Little, Richard Zussman and The Canadian Press