B.C. health officials reported 18 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and three more deaths.

The three deaths reported on May 22 were all in the Fraser Health region. The provincial COVID-19 death toll is now at 155.

There have now been 2,507 cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia, with 310 still active. A total of 2,042 people who have tested positive have recovered.

Of the 2,507 cases in B.C., there have been 888 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,236 in Fraser Health, 127 in Island Health (one more than May 21) and 62 in Northern Health.

However, one of the cases in Island Health and nine of the cases in Interior Health are individuals associated with the Kearl Lake oil sands project outbreak. Those people completed their self-isolation in Alberta and have since recovered.

“The discrepancy between new cases and total cases with the Interior Health and Island Health regions reported today are a data consolidation to reflect COVID-19 cases based on where individuals reside, even if they were not in the health authority during their illness,” Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a statement on Friday.

The outbreak at the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver has been declared over. Fourteen long-term care or assisted-living facilities and two acute-care units have active outbreaks. There have been no new health-care outbreaks reported.

Dix and Henry are reminding B.C. residents that while Phase 2 of B.C.’s Restart Plan is underway, there is still a provincial health officer order restricting mass gatherings to more than 50 people

And the order has also been amended to include no more than 50 vehicles at outdoor drive-in events, with a restriction on refreshment sales.

The order states that anyone attending the events have to stay in their cars unless they have to go to the washroom. The washrooms have to be serviced with running water for proper hand hygiene.

“We are finding our new balance between protecting our health and reopening many of the businesses and activities that are important to all of us,” Dix and Henry said.

“Phase 2 of our BC’s Restart Plan is about pausing before moving forward; being thoughtful and cautious to keep everyone safe, while COVID-19 remains in our communities.”

Researchers with Johns Hopkins University and Medicine say the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is more than 5.1 million, with more than 336,000 deaths linked to the illness. The numbers are taken from official and media reports.

 

Alexa Huffman