Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:
"We are announcing 67 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 792 cases in British Columbia.
"Every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19: 391 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 262 are in the Fraser Health region, 57 are in the Island Health region, 70 are in the Interior Health region and 12 are in the Northern Heath region.
"We are saddened to report two more deaths as a result of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal health region. Our condolences to their loved ones during this difficult time.
"Two additional long-term care homes in the Fraser Health region have staff with confirmed cases of COVID-19, The Harrison at Elim Village and Chartwell Independent Living at Langley Gardens. In total, 11 long-term care homes in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Public health officials are providing support to implement outbreak protocols.
"Two hundred and seventy-five patients with COVID-19 have recovered and no longer have isolation requirements.
"Additionally, of the total COVID-19 cases, 73 individuals are currently hospitalized, and the remaining people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
"We are tracking the epidemic curve closely here in B.C. We are also monitoring outbreaks in other nations to guide our health system preparations and public health response.
"In the past few days, our upward path has been less severe than other places, but we continue to see steady increases in community transmission cases and continue to be concerned about outbreaks, which could quickly grow and challenge our pandemic response.
"The evidence is clear: with every person in British Columbia 100% committed to physical distancing, we can flatten the curve. Over the next two weeks we must be united in this one goal.
"We strongly discourage any in-person gathering of any size at this time, but rather encourage using the many online options we have available today to stay connected to friends, family, customers and clients.
"We know that our community and farmers markets are an important source of fresh food. We are heartened that, with the support of funding from the provincial government, many markets are shifting to an online model. We remind market organizers that a public gathering order is in place and physical distancing measures must be followed.
"Further, to reduce the potential for transmission and ensure local, B.C.-grown food can continue to reach customers, a public health officer order has been issued, effective immediately.
"All occasional/recurring/weekly events where food and other merchandise is sold (e.g., markets, street markets, night markets, Saturday markets or community markets) must only allow vendors that sell food to be at these events. Vendors of non-food items and all other merchandise are prohibited to sell at these events.
"Every day that we stay home and stay apart will bolster our COVID-19 response. This is how we will protect our health-care workers, whose job it is to care for us, our loved ones and ourselves."
For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community from COVID-19, and to use an online self-assessment tool, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/
The COVID-19 self-assessment app can be downloaded at: https://bc.thrive.health/
For non-medical questions about COVID-19, call 1 888 COVID-19 or visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19
For a full listing of provincial health officer orders, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/covid-19-novel-coronavirus