B.C. officials announced 45 new cases of COVID-19 in the province at Wednesday’s daily briefing, for a new total of 231 cases.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there are now 13 people in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care. One new case was found at a seniors’ independent living facility in Vancouver’s West End, where the resident is in isolation and receiving care.
Of the total cases, 144 are in Vancouver Coastal, 58 are in Fraser, 16 are on Vancouver Island, nine are in Interior and four are in Northern health regions.
Henry reiterated the importance of taking steps to prevent further spread, such as ordering bars and clubs closed, restricting gatherings of more than 50 people, and ensuring there is one to two metres of distance between people when out in public.
“These are temporary but they are extremely important right now,” said Henry of the measures put in place and the closures that have been ordered. “It is incredibly important that people start paying attention and use these measures to mitigate what is happening in our communities.”’
Henry said officials are not recommending blanket closures of day cares as they are considered an essential service, particularly for those who work in B.C.’s health-care system.
She said officials are “asking people to take voluntary steps to help us in our community,” such as social distancing and minimizing non-essential trips outside the home.
“And while they are voluntary, there is an expectation that we will do our civic duty to do our best around this, to proactively protect our communities and our families.”
Henry also highlighted Canadian Blood Services’ urgent need for blood donations.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said nearly a million people have used the provincial government’s symptom self-assessment online tool to determine whether a test is needed, and that a newly established help line has eased some of the pressure on the province’s 811 info line.
Dix also pleaded for people to follow officials’ advice on self-isolation, particularly those who have been reluctant.
“To those who have been reluctant or who have on occasion not followed the advice, I want to say that your neighbours and your friends and your families are counting on you to do just that,” said Dix.
“Today, I would say for anyone who hasn’t joined in this effort, who has been reluctant to join in these very explicit measures we can do to help one another, to help protect one another’s health – I say it’s not too late to join the fight.”
A day earlier, Henry declared a public health emergency under the Public Health Act, giving her wide-reaching powers to issue verbal orders as needed during the pandemic.