This past weekend, there have been reports of beach gatherings, house parties, and other complaints indicating that many people in the province are carrying on business as usual.

With the growing numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases across B.C. and Canada, the overarching directive from public health officials has been telling people to stay at home, limit contact with others, and maintain a distance of one to two metres between people, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

But if hearing it from experts like Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dr. Theresa Tam was not enough of a reason to listen, over 300 hospital physicians, surgeons and other medical staff across British Columbia have published and signed a letter, uploaded by the Vancouver Sun, urging the same.

“We are BC’s Medical Staff. We are at the front line of this fight. We fear an influx of patients that the system cannot handle,” reads the letter.

“We fear for our patients and the need to make decisions about who will get the necessary equipment to survive. We fear for our own safety and the safety of our families.”

The letter goes on to urge individuals to stay at home and restrict contact with other people. It also assures government officials that the group would support stricter measures if that is decided.

“This is a threat that hopefully comes along only once in a lifetime. We are asking every resident in every community to do their part to help us stop this virus.”

Read the full letter:

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

According to the latest updates, B.C. currently has 424 cases of COVID-19, including 37 on Vancouver Island.

In B.C. the most recent developments include provincial health orders for all restaurants and bars to switch to take-out/delivery model if they wish to operate, and the closure of personal services businesses like salons, spas, tattoo parlours, etc.

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

Last 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 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 360,096.

Nearly 15,500 people have died from the illness and 100,658 have made a full recovery.