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

The B.C. Ministry of Health has reported 77 new cases of novel coronavirus in the province, bringing the total number cases in B.C. to 348 people.

Among these cases, there are now a total of 30 confirmed patients on Vancouver Island. No new deaths have been reported, and the death toll in B.C. remains at eight. 

22 people are currently recovering in hospital, with 10 people in Intensive Care Unit. There are now six people who have recovered from COVID-19, up from five yesterday.

According to Dr. Bonnie Henry, one of the new COVID-19 cases was confirmed in a health care worker associated with the Dufferin Care Centre in Coquitlam. That centre is now being managed as an outbreak.

She also stated that two dozen health care workers in B.C. have thus far tested positive for COVID-19. Fortunately all of those individuals contracted a mild case of the virus and while some required short hospital stays, most of them recovered at home in isolation.

Dr. Henry assures the public that at this time, there is no shortage of supplies to support health care workers across the province and the country.

Henry also answered Victoria Buzz’s question regarding why health authorities have not been disclosing the exact cities or municipalities in which the COVID-19 patients reside.

Originally health officials cited patient privacy as the main reason for non-disclosure.

Today, Dr. Henry says the location of individual patients doesn’t make any difference at this point.

“The risk of this virus is everywhere in B.C. and everywhere in Canada and around the world. It doesn’t make any difference whether someone was in North shore or downtown Vancouver. We all need to take these measures across the province.”

New provincial health order

“We are committed to doing everything we can to continue to do what we need to best protect everyone in our health care system,” said Dr. Henry.

To continue to facilitate social distancing measures necessary to prevent the continued spread of COVID-19, the provincial health officer also enacted a new order.

According to the health order, all restaurants must now move to take out or delivery model in order to continue to operate.

“The reasons that we’re doing this is so that we can build a firewall and prevent transmission of this virus between us so that we can prevent the people who are most susceptible to dying from this disease from being exposed to it in the first place. That’s why we’re taking these extreme measures in the first place,” said Dr. Henry.

According to health Minister Adrian Dix, 17,912 people have been tested for COVID-19 in British Columbia up to this point. He adds that critical care beds in B.C. are at 61.8% capacity at this point.

“We’re all in this together,” he concludes.

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 274,092.

Over 11,300 people have died from the illness and 90,622 have made a full recovery.

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