The B.C. Ministry of Health has reported 74 new cases of novel coronavirus in the province, bringing the total number cases in B.C. to 424 people.
230 of these cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Region, 126 in Fraser Health, 37 on Vancouver Island, 27 in Interior Health and 4 in Northern Health region.
There are five new people who have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 bringing the total to 27. 12 of those patients are in Intensive Care Unit. There continues to be six people who have recovered from the illness in B.C.
One additional resident at Lynn Valley Care Centre has died after contracting COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 10 in the province.
In light of these developments, Dr. Bonnie Henry has issued a new provincial health order banning personal services establishments, like salons, spas, massage parlours, tattoo shops, etc., from operating until further notice.
On Friday, doctors at a B.C. hospital located in the Fraser Valley Health region urged Dr. Bonnie Henry to impose a lockdown of all businesses and public spaces in order to prevent an outbreak as dire as the one seen in Italy.
“Tragically, Italy has had to choose who can receive intensive medical care based on age and risk profile; please do not force us to implement similar policies here as our hospitals become overrun,” reads the letter from Royal Columbian Hospital.
“I absolutely agree with them that we need to make sure that we’re doing everything we can. The term lockdown is nice to hear but I believe that the measures that we’re doing equate to what they are asking,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry in response.
She reiterates the necessity for people to self isolate, particularly among young people who appear to believe they are immune to the virus, stating that they should not be playing basketball or gathering to watch a sunset together.
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 301,513.
Nearly 13,000 people have died from the illness and 94,625 have made a full recovery.