(Dr. Bonnie Henry/Province of B.C.)

The B.C. Ministry of Health has reported 45 new cases of novel coronavirus in the province, bringing the total number cases in B.C. to 231 people.

144 of these cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Region, 58 in Fraser Health, 16 on Vancouver Island, 9 in Interior Health and 4 in Northern Health region.

One of the new cases is a resident of a new long term care home, the Harold Park Complex Care Centre in Vancouver.

At this time, 13 people in the province are hospitalized due to COVID-19, 7 people are in intensive care, and 5 people continue to have recovered. There are no new deaths to report.

On the question of why daycares have allowed to remain open, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry notes that daycare services are essential to allow adults who work in essential services like health care to go to work.

“However as we implement broad social measures to delay transmission, many parents are working from home and caring for their children at home. That takes the pressure off our daycare centres,” said Dr. Henry.

Henry also clarified that businesses that remain open, like grocery stores and pharmacies, should implement enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures on a case by case basis.

For example, a large grocery store could accommodate several hundreds of people while still having everyone maintain the required one to two metres distance between each other, while a smaller business may need to stagger patrons one at a time.

“This is a challenging time where we really need to think about taking care of each other,” notes Dr. Henry.

She also reiterates that employers should not be asking for doctors’ notes from employees who report sickness and ask to stay home.

“We need everyone to take part in what I think has been an inspiring call to action from Dr. Bonnie Henry and others around the country,” said health minister Adrian Dix.

“We’re all in this together.”

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

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

On Tuesday, B.C. joined Alberta and Ontario in declaring a public health emergency in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. Today, 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 also 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.

Moreover international flights will now be 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 217,583.

Nearly 9,000 people have died from the illness and 84,383 have made a full recovery.