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12 more die of COVID-19 in B.C. as 2nd mink farm confirms cases

There are 582 new cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia, according to a release issued by Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, minister of health. 

Another 12 people have died. In total, 808 people have died of COVID-19 in the province to date.

There are now 8,865 active cases in B.C. There are 9,732 people in isolation and under active surveillance by public health workers because of exposure to known cases of the novel coronavirus. 

A total of 341 people are currently in hospital, including 78 people in intensive care.

Meanwhile, three mink on a second Fraser Valley mink farm have tested positive for COVID-19. 

The B.C. farm is currently under a quarantine order. This means no animals or material can be moved from the farm under the order. 

No workers at the farm have tested positive for COVID-19, but 23 animals died on the farm between Dec. 19 and 23. The farm has about 1,000 mink.

virus outbreak mink farms
In this Dec. 6, 2012, file photo, mink look out of a cage at a fur farm in Belarus. Mink at a second B.C. mink farm have now tested positive for COVID-19. (Sergei Grits/The Associated Press)

Earlier this month, mink tested positive for COVID-19 at another mink farm in the Fraser Valley, the first in the province. Fraser Health said eight people had tested positive as well. About 200 mink died at that farm.

Mink, which are farmed for their fur, are vulnerable to respiratory illnesses like COVID-19

All mink farms in B.C. are undergoing enhanced surveillance and testing for COVID-19. 

Keep Christmas small this year

In their written statement Dix and Henry encouraged British Columbians to keep Christmas celebrations small this year. They encouraged people to spend the holiday weekend participating in “virtual activities” like a church service, concert or theatre performance, or dropping off a warm meal or treat to friends and neighbours.

christmas eve features
An employee with The Pie Hole hands over an order to a customer in line at their location on West 4th Avenue in Vancouver on Dec. 24, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“By staying small and staying apart this holiday season, we’re protecting the people we care about most and ensuring the coming weeks and months are better, brighter and safer for everyone. Together, let’s make this holiday season a safe season for all of us.”

Other outbreaks across B.C.

There are currently 53 active outbreaks in B.C. long-term care facilities and six outbreaks in acute care facilities in the province.

There are no new health-care facility outbreaks or community outbreaks in the past 24 hours, and the outbreaks at the Belvedere Care Centre in Coquitlam and Queen’s Park Care Centre in New Westminster have been declared over.

Fraser Health announced the first long-term care resident in its health authority received a COVID-19 vaccine. Andy Yoon, 77, of Abbotsford received his vaccine Thursday.

Since the start of immunizations, 8,178 people have received their first dose of the the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Also on Thursday, Northern Health announced there are now 48 cases associated with the outbreak at 7 Mile Lodge in the Burns Lake area and Little Rock Lake Lodge in the Nechako area. Both sites serve as worker accommodation for the Coastal GasLink pipeline project.

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