The B.C. Ministry of Health has reported 67 new cases of novel coronavirus in the province, bringing the total number cases in B.C. to 792 people.

In total, 391 of these cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Region, 262 in Fraser Health, 57 on Vancouver Island, 70 in Interior Health and 12 in Northern Health region.

There are now a total of 73 people who have been hospitalized with COVID-19.

Two deaths have been reported today, both in the Vancouver Coastal Health region bringing the death toll in B.C. to 16.

In good news, a total of 275 people have now recovered from novel coronavirus in B.C.

There are now COVID-19 outbreaks at 11 long term care centres on the mainland, the hardest hit of which is the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver.

There are approximately 3,500 tests being conducted everyday in British Columbia.

“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,” reads a statement from the Ministry of Health.

“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.”

Earlier today, Dr. Bonnie Henry expressed cautious optimism after models showed that based on confirmed tests, the rate of COVID-19 growth in B.C. has started to slow down.

“We’re not out of the woods yet and still need to track this carefully and still need to continue those measures,” said Henry.

According to her, this can be attributed to stringent physical distancing and self isolation measures enacted by the province thus far.

Nevertheless, the province is preparing contingency plans in case the epidemic increases, in the worst case scenario, to the levels seen in northern Italy.

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. This was followed by a $5 billion relief package announced by the B.C. provincial government.

This includes a $2,000/month package for four months for all Canadians who have lost income due to COVID-19, and $500/month assistance package for renters in B.C.

Trudeau also announced a 75% wage subsidy for small and medium sized businesses and a new Canada Emergency Business Account which will allow banks to offer $40,000 loans to businesses, interest-free for the first year.

The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C., closure of all bars and restaurants, and a moratorium on evictions among other steps to enforce social distancing measures.

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 has been temporarily banned as of 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 584,992.

Over 26,800 people have died from the illness and 131,428 have made a full recovery.

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