(Dr. Bonnie Henry/Province of British Columbia - Flickr)

The B.C. Ministry of Health has reported 40 new cases of novel coronavirus in the province, bringing the total number cases in B.C. to 271 people.

152 of these cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Region, 81 in Fraser Health, 22 on Vancouver Island, 12 in Interior Health and 4 in Northern Health region.

One person has died as a result of COVID-19 infection – a resident at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver – bringing the total coronavirus death toll to 9 in B.C.

There are now 17 people who have been hospitalized due to COVID-19, and nine of those people are in intensive care.

There continues to be 5 people in total who have fully recovered from the virus, however Dr. Bonnie Henry says most cases in which people were displaying symptoms are in stable condition, recovering at home.

In the wake of these reports, Dr. Henry reiterates the need of measures like self isolation where necessary as well as social distancing in curbing the spread of COVID-19.

“This is not optional,” said Henry at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

“Everybody needs to take these actions now. This is what’s going to protect us in next few weeks.”

During the conference, Dr. Henry also mentioned heartwarming measures undertaken by people across B.C. where people are coming up with innovative ways to maintain connections while following directives to self isolate.

These measures include having virtual coffee dates, people dropping off food and goodies to their loved ones, businesses opening takeout options, and individuals delivering medications to those who need them.

While social distancing is repeatedly emphasized, Dr. Henry maintains that B.C. residents can still go outside.

“There are things you can do even during social distancing. You can walk your pet, go for a bike ride, play with your kids.”

“We’re calling on all of us to do what we can as a community to support everybody.”

On the subject of people spreading misinformation on COVID-19, Dr. Bonnie Henry confirms that there is no evidence, according to the WHO, that anti-inflammatory medication like Ibuprofen and Advil have any detrimental on people who have contracted coronavirus.

While Canada is looking to be a part of clinical tests to find a treatment for novel coronavirus, there is no cure or vaccination for COVID-19 at this time.

See all the latest updates about the global COVID-19 pandemic on Vancouver Island

The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic.

Earlier this week, B.C. joined Alberta and Ontario in declaring a public health emergency in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth declared a provincial state of emergency to support the health ministry’s public health emergency.

The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C.

Canada has tightened its borders and is denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.

U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule, and non-essential travel between U.S. and Canada will be temporarily banned by March 21st. Moreover international flights have now been restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.

The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.

Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.

The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19  line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.

As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 244,097.

Over 10,000 people have died from the illness and 86,714 have made a full recovery.