16 new cases, 1 more death from COVID-19 in B.C.
VANCOUVER -- After nearly a week without any deaths from COVID-19 in British Columbia, health officials announced Friday that an additional person had died from the coronavirus, bringing the provincial death toll to 168.
The latest victim of the virus was a resident of the Vancouver Coastal Health region, and Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry offered their condolences in a written statement Friday.
The health officials also announced 16 new test-positive cases of the virus, bringing the total identified in B.C. since the pandemic began to 2,709.
There are 187 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, including 12 people who are hospitalized, three of whom are in intensive care.
Dix and Henry said there have been no new health-care facility outbreaks over the last 24 hours, nor have there been any new community outbreaks. Health officials continue to respond to five ongoing outbreaks in health-care facilities and six in the general community.
In their last live briefing on Thursday, Dix stressed that even though B.C. has had relatively positive results when responding to the novel coronavirus pandemic locally, the global pandemic is far from over.
"This is a record week of new cases for COVID-19 in the world, just to put in context," he said. "In other words, COVID-19 is with us and we have to continue to work together over the coming months to address it."
To that end, Friday's statement included additional comments about changes announced this week to the provincial health order limiting restaurant capacity as B.C. reopens.
“We have been monitoring our COVID-19 restart activities closely and are modifying our approach as we move forward," Dix and Henry said. "This includes amending the provincial health officer’s order for food and liquor service establishments to make restaurants and pubs safer for employees and patrons."
Those changes included removing the language that capped restaurant capacity at 50 per cent from the order, and replacing it with a requirement that restaurants determine the maximum number of patrons and staff their facilities can accommodate while maintaining a two-metre distance between them at all times.
“The requirements for this sector have been adjusted in response to small clusters of new cases in businesses, as employees spend more time together and in recognition that a safe number of patrons is highly dependent on the amount of space within each location, not the restaurant capacity," Dix and Henry said in their statement Friday. “The best way for us to avoid spreading the virus is to ensure everyone, employees and patrons, have the space to stay safe."
Most of B.C.'s COVID-19 cases have been located in the Lower Mainland, with 1,396 in the Fraser Health Region and 922 in Vancouver Coastal Health.
Elsewhere in the province, there have been 196 cases of COVID-19 in the Interior Health region, 130 in Island Health and 65 in Northern Health. Officials decreased the Northern Health total by one Friday, citing a "data correction."
A total of 2,354 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C. since the pandemic began have recovered from the virus.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Carly Yoshida-Butryn and Alyse Kotyk