B.C. health officials have announced 40 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., including one additional death.
The death is associated with the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver. There are now eight deaths in the province, with six related to the Lynn Valley Care Centre.
The provincial total is now at 271. Seventeen people are in hospital and nine are in ICU. Five people have recovered.
In Canada, there have been eleven COVID-19 related deaths.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the majority of people hospitalized is over 60 but overall infections is slightly younger and involves more woman than men. Henry said this reflects healthcare workers are getting infected.
Henry said it’s hard to know what to expect going forward.
“What we’ve been reporting is the day the test comes back positive but that’s not always a reflection of what’s actually happening out there,” Henry said.
She said people who don’t have symptoms don’t need to be tested. People who have returned from travelling who have mild symptoms and are in isolation are also not being tested.
“That’s allowed us to focus the testing on healthcare workers, on the outbreaks that we’re managing, on clusters in the community that aren’t related to travel,” Henry said.
Henry said people need to maintain physical distance between each other to buy time for a treatment or a vaccine to be found. She said the limit of 50 people is on a case-by-case basis as it depends on the venue and other factors.
“This is not a normal time and we need to keep those distances between us,” Henry said. She said people should stay home as much as possible.
“This is not business as usual.”
Henry has not ordered for places like physiotherapists and salons to shut down but said it’s important at this time to protect seniors.
“We’ll be looking at this to be a major problem,” Henry said.
As for grocery stores, Henry said stores are encouraging people to limit their items to allow for shelves to be refilledd and are reducing hours to protect staff.
“We do not want people to be hoarding and stocking large amounts of things,” Henry said.
And Health Minister Adrian Dix said the MSP wait period will be waived for people returning to B.C. from outside of the province or outside the country.
There are a total of 22 cases on Vancouver Island, including six new cases announced March 19.
On Wednesday, the B.C. government announced a provincial state of emergency. It allows the allow the preservation of supply chains delivering groceries and other essential items.
Dix said the government will announce when more ventilators for COVID-19 patients have arrived in the province.
Non-medical information about COVID-19 is available 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m., seven days a week at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).
More to come