66 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in B.C., total now at 725

66 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in B.C., total now at 725
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

British Columbia has 66 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the provincial total to 725.

No new deaths were announced Friday. There have been 14 COVID-19 deaths in the province.

There are now 52 cases in the Island Health region, 359 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 241 in Fraser Health, 62 in Interior Health and 11 in northern health.

Sixty six people are in hospital and 25 are in intensive care. One hundred and eighty six people have fully recovered.

Four more residents and three more workers have tested positive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver, the site of one of the senior home outbreaks.

Two additional residents and one staff member have also tested positive at Haro Park in Vancouver.

Henry said there have been no outbreaks at any care homes on Vancouver Island.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said as of Thursday, there are 3,903 vacant beds in B.C.’s acute care system with a 63.6 per cent occupancy rate. There are 371 beds in the critical care system with a 54.8 per cent occupancy rate.

According to Dix, the province is micromanaging and conserving its inventory of personal protective equipment. He also said there’s huge international demand and the province has received a small supply from the federal government and other sources.

Henry says there are also new guidelines that will allow doctors to prescribe drugs to illicit drug users, giving them a safe supply to ensure they’re able to comply with self-isolation requirements.

B.C. COVID-19 Update for March 26, 2020

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, provide an update on novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Posted by CHEK News on Thursday, March 26, 2020

Earlier Thursday, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the B.C. government series of actions to ensure the provincial supply chain keeps goods and services moving, that consumers are protected and people follow the self-isolation rules.

Farnsworth says the unprecedented steps will support the provincial heath officer in a cross-government approach to respond to the health crisis.

Premier John Horgan says they’re aiming the actions at hoarders and those trying to make a profit during the COVID-19 crisis.

Farnsworth says the government is also considering using vacant convention centres and other large spaces for over-flow health facilities.

Henry once again reminded people to stay home and avoid meeting in groups.

“We can all make a difference but we need everyone to be 100 per cent committed to doing this,” Henry said.

“We need to take care of each other right now. We need to be kind and we need everybody to do their part.”

Dix said the province’s HealthLink 811 line answered 5,070 calls on Wednesday with the average wait time of 5.3 minutes.

On Friday, B.C. health officials will be releasing COVID-19 models, including projections for a worst-case scenario in the province, compared to other COVID-19 outbreaks around the world, such as Italy and Hubei province in China.

To read previous case counts day by day, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control site.

With files from The Canadian Press

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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