Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, says there are seven new cases of COVID-19 in the province, the lowest number since March 9.
There are no new cases on Island Health. The total number of cases of COVID-19 in Island Health remains at 125.
In B.C., there are now a total of 2,360 cases: 874 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,124 in Fraser Health, 125 in Island Health, 180 in Interior Health and 57 in Northern Health.
There has been one additional death at a long-term care facility in Fraser Health. The death toll is now at 131.
Sixty-three people with COVID-19 are in hospital, down from 66 on May 11. Thirty-six of those are in Fraser Health, 22 are in Vancouver Coastal, two are in Interior Health, one is is Island Health and two are in Northern Health.
No new community outbreaks have been reported in B.C.
On Tuesday, Henry spoke about both dating and wearing masks in public.
For people who want to start dating, she suggested physical distancing measures, such as online dating or a picnic in the park. She recommended against dating multiple people and avoiding people who are sick.
“This is not the time to be doing rapid serial dating,” Henry said.
“I think we all need to take a little bit of responsibility right now coming into the next few weeks in particular.”
As for masks, Henry said she doesn’t believe they should be required, but people can wear one if they would like to prevent saliva and respiratory secretions.
Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said B.C. has also launched a COVID-19 survey for British Columbians to share the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their lives.
- A serology survey (blood testing) to help determine immunity across the population
- Planning for future waves in which identifying, containing and tracing are substantially strengthened through technology tools to enable integrated and coordinated information sharing
Earlier Tuesday, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the next phase of Canada’s COVID-19 response will involve testing people with a wider range of potential symptoms.
In order to get a better idea of who has the disease, Tam says Canada needs to start casting a wider net when it comes to who to test.
B.C. had announced on April 20 that anyone in the province with symptoms could get tested for COVID-19.
But Canada’s deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said Tuesday there are still challenges keeping Canada from reaching the lab capacity needed to properly test for COVID-19.
Canada is aiming for the capacity to test 60,000 people per day in order to test anyone with symptoms, and asymptomatic people in high-risk environments.
This week Canada is testing an average of 26,000 per day.
He says all provinces and territories are working on increasing their lab capacities though challenges, like transporting samples to the lab, remain.
Tam also said Tuesday Canada is not going to see mass gatherings or non-essential travel any time soon.
And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will be very cautious when it comes to reopening international travel.
He would not say whether he expects the Canada-U.S. border to reopen when a mutual ban on non-essential travel expires next week.
But rather he says preventing transmission of COVID-19 into Canada from other countries will be an essential part of preventing a second wave of the outbreak.
He says Canada will need to see a decrease in the number of new cases in the country, and will need to have the ability to detect and track new cases.
Dix said the only travel British Columbians should be doing for the next little while is moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2 of B.C.’s Restart Plan NEXT WEEK.
“We need our passport to healthy,” Dix said.
Dix said he and Premier John Horgan have made it clear to the federal government that the B.C. border needs to remain closed to non-essential travel.
“It would be absolutely unacceptable after the enormous sacrifice people in B.C. have been placed to take this risk right now,” Dix said, adding that the risk of COVID-19 remains high across the province.
Henry said Tuesday that many British Columbians have fears about new spikes in cases as the province reopens. She said the province was going slowly and encouraged people in the province to change their behaviour slowly as well.
“We can safely restart our province,” Henry said. “It is incredibly important that the heart of that is controlling the virus. We need to maintain control of COVID-19.”
To learn more about COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website.
Watch Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix on May 12, 2020, below:
With files from The Canadian Press and CBC