Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:
“Today, we are announcing 71 new cases, for a total of 1,795 cases in British Columbia.
“Every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19: 745 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 747 are in the Fraser Health region, 110 are in the Island Health region, 153 are in the Interior Health region and 40 are in the Northern Health region.
“We are saddened to report three new COVID-19 related deaths in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health regions, for a total of 90 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones.
“There have been three new outbreaks in long-term care and assisted-living facilities in the last day, at the Eden Care Centre, the Guildford Seniors Village and the New Vista Society. In total, 19 facilities and one acute-care unit have active outbreaks, with outbreaks now declared over at 10 care facilities.
“Public health teams are also providing support to a number of community outbreaks.
“Vancouver Coastal is working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to manage the outbreak at the United Poultry Company. To date, 28 employees have been confirmed positive.
“Fraser Health continues to work with Correction Services Canada to manage the outbreak at the Mission Institution federal correctional centre, which now has 77 cases of COVID-19.
“To date, 1,079 people who had tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered and no longer require isolation.
“Of the total COVID-19 cases, 103 individuals are currently hospitalized, 46 of those are in intensive care and the remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
“We continue to experience new community outbreaks in our province. This tells us that we have more work to do to break the chains of transmission.
“We have been clear from the outset, we are taking a whole-province approach and we need every individual, every business and every community to do that same. We cannot afford to have any weakness in our firewall that will result in a surge in new cases.
“To ease restrictions, we need a continued decline in both the number of new cases and the number of outbreaks. Until we clear that important hurdle, we can’t begin to make changes.
“We know that many people experience mild symptoms, making it difficult to determine if you have COVID-19 and increasing the likelihood of transmission.
“That is why it is critically important that if you are ill – whether you feel it is a cold, allergies or COVID-19 – to stay home, stay away from all others and contact your health-care provider or call 811 to get tested.
“We also need employers to do the responsible thing and have measures in place to ensure everyone who is working is healthy and allow employees to keep their colleagues safe, by staying home when ill.
“Employers also need to understand that an outbreak in your business has a significant impact. An immediate shutdown is required and your business will only be able to open once public health officials are confident that you can operate without putting your employees or the community in harms way.
“Those sectors and businesses who are looking ahead to reopening need to think about three things: processes to open safely, measures to keep people safe to avoid further outbreaks and a plan in the event that a case or an outbreak should occur.
“B.C. companies, societies and co-operatives can now use electronic meetings during the Province’s state of emergency to ensure the order restricting gatherings of more than 50 people is followed.
“We must remain 100% committed to working together in our common purpose to see us through this storm.”