B.C. health officials are reporting 29 new cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia and one additional death.

There is one new case in Island Health, bringing the total in the health authority to 125. Two cases reported yesterday in Island Health were removed due to a data error, the B.C. government said.

The provincial COVID-19 total is now at 2,315: 866 cases are in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,089 in Fraser Health, 125 in Island Health, 180 in Interior Health and 55 in northern Health. A total of 1,579 people have recovered.

There was also one new COVID-19 death on May 8, in the Fraser Health Region. The B.C. death toll is now at 127.

Seventy-three people are in hospital and 20 of those are in intensive care.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, put out Friday’s numbers in a joint statement. Henry and Dix typically do not hold press conferences on Friday.

There are no new long-term care centre or assisted-living facility outbreaks as of May 8. Sixteen facilities and five acute-care units have active cases. Outbreaks have been declared over at 18 care facilities.

There has been no change in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry, United Poultry in Vancouver and the Mission Institution federal correctional centre.

There are now 61 COVID-19 cases at Superior Poultry in Coquitlam and 17 connected to the Kearl lake plant in Alberta.

“We must continue with what we have been doing, it is working,” Henry and Dix said in a statement on May 8.

“We have flattened our curve and must keep it there.  Until we move into Phase 2, the orders, restrictions and guidance remain in place.

“Our go-forward principles are our playbook for where we are today and how we will move forward. They are the rules to help us decide what is safe for ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. These principles will not change until COVID-19 is no longer a risk to any of us.”

Henry and Dix said it is important to keep  the following guidelines in mind while B.C. moves through the B.C. Restart Plan.  

1. Maintain physical distancing outside your household. For example, no handshaking or hugging, keeping your number of contacts low and keeping a safe distance.

2. Practise good hygiene – hand hygiene, avoid touching your face and respiratory etiquette.

3. Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill. That means staying home from school, work or socializing.

4. Make necessary contact safer with appropriate controls, e.g., using plexiglass barriers or redesigning spaces.

5. Increase cleaning of frequently touched surfaces at home and work.

6. Consider using non-medical masks in situations where physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as on transit or while shopping.

7. Continue to minimize non-essential personal travel.

8. Stay informed, be prepared and follow public health advice.

Earlier Friday, new unemployment data from Statistics Canada showed B.C. lost almost 400,000 jobs in March and April combined.

Almost half those job losses were in food services and the wholesale and retail sectors, Finance Minister Carole James said during a conference call on Friday.

“I mentioned when I presented the numbers in March that we expected the numbers would be worse in April,” she said. “As predicted, today’s data shows a staggering number of people are feeling the economic impact of COVID-19.”

James wouldn’t discuss what the pandemic’s impact has been on B.C.’s budget, saying the province’s first quarterly report will shed greater light on the damage.

She noted that when the province announced its budget in February, the unemployment rate stood at five per cent. It was at 11.5 per cent in April.

“I think we’ve got a hard road ahead,” she said. “I don’t want to sugar coat it.”

Researchers with Johns Hopkins University and Medicine say the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases globally is more than 3.9 million, with more than 273,000 deaths.

Read more about the symptoms of COVID-19 on the BC Centre for Disease Control website. 

With files from The Canadian Press

Alexa Huffman