Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has announced 45 new cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing the total to 231.
There are four new cases on Vancouver Island, bringing the total to 16. There are also 144 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 58 in Fraser Health, nine in Interior Health and four in Northern Health.
There is one new case announced at Haro Park Centre, a residential care home located in Vancouver.
Thirteen people are hospitalized and seven are in intensive care. Five people have recovered.
No new deaths were reported by Henry on Wednesday.
Henry said now is a “critical time” to flatten the curve as COVID-19 continues to spread around the province.
“We do know that this virus is spreading in our community, and the measures that we are requiring of people and asking of people are to try and stop the spread of this virus,” Henry said.
“What we do today is going to help us in the next 10 days, 14 days.”
According to Henry, she expects all employees will look at how they can maintain social distancing in the workplace.
Henry said the vast majority of transmission of COVID-19 is from people showing symptoms, however health officials are aware of reports of asymptomatic transmission. There are now five locations across B.C. that do testing and more are still collecting tests across the province.
At least 17,000 people have been tested. Henry said testing has indicated more healthcare workers have been infected.
Dix said anyone who has been reluctant to engage in social distancing before now should change their behaviour.
“It’s not too late to join the fight,” Dix said.
Henry said it’s unclear when life will return to normal but she is optimistic that if social distancing measures done in the weeks and months, people can be cared for while awaiting a vaccine.
Henry said the daycare sector is being looked at as services may be needed for essential workers.
Also on Wednesday, British Columbia’s Solicitor General Mike Farnworth is declaring a state of emergency in British Columbia.
The move follows yesterday’s declaration of a public health emergency in the same province.
Farnworth says the declaration gives the government increased powers to preserve supply chains delivering groceries and other essential items.
He also says it means a quicker, co-ordinated response between federal, provincial and local governments, calling it an “all hands on deck” approach.
BC Hydro has announced it is scaling back construction on the Site C project near Fort St. John because of the pandemic, focusing on essential work.
And pharmacists have been given the power to provide medication refills to patients without an updated prescription from a doctor or nurse practitioner.
The College of Pharmacists of B.C. says this will help patients avoid crowded medical offices, allowing safe social distancing, and will also free up medical professionals to treat more urgent cases.
Earlier Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he spoke to U.S. President Donald Trump this morning and they agreed to temporarily restrict non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border.
He says travellers will no longer be allowed to cross for recreation or tourism.
He also says essential travel will continue, as it is critical to preserve the supply chains that bring both countries food, medicine and other important products.
With files from The Canadian Press