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4 more deaths from COVID-19 in B.C., 12 new cases since Saturday
VANCOUVER -- Four more people have died from COVID-19 in British Columbia since the last update from health officials on Saturday, and there have been 12 additional test-positive cases.
Monday's briefing from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix brings the province's death toll to 161 and the total number of cases identified over the course of the pandemic to 2,530.
All four of the latest victims were seniors in long-term care, and Henry said their deaths highlight "the challenges that this virus has caused" in protecting vulnerable populations.
"Our condolences go to their families and to their care teams," she said.
While there have been no new outbreaks at seniors' homes, hospitals, prisons or private businesses, the number of cases associated with long-term care homes and assisted living facilities increased by three, for a total of 333 residents and 209 staff members.
Among the worst outbreaks is the one plaguing Langley Lodge, where 20 residents have now died and another four remain sick. The virus, which was previously contained to the third and fourth floors of the facility, has also now been detected on the fifth floor, officials revealed on Monday.
But the latest provincial numbers still continue a promising trend of recoveries outpacing new infections. Henry said 45 people have recovered since Saturday, bringing the total number of recoveries to 2,102 and leaving 267 active cases, the lowest recorded since March 19.
Of those, 37 cases are serious enough to require hospitalization, and there are seven patients in critical care or intensive care units.
The ongoing decline in active and severe cases of the novel coronavirus in B.C. helped pave the way for the recently loosened restrictions that have allowed many people to return to restaurants, hair salons and other businesses.
But Henry warned that could change should the province's caseload suddenly start skyrocketing again, and urged the public to continue taking personal precautions to lower the risk of transmission.
"What's clear for all of us is that our success so far and our ability to ease restrictions relies on our shared commitment and efforts, and we need that to continue," she said.
"Let's keep going. Let's keep doing what we need to do in a thoughtful and careful way and keep being kind and being calm and staying safe."
She also noted the fact that B.C.'s Discover Campsite repeatedly crashed on Monday after opening up reservations for locals only. She called the appetite for nearby camping trips a "positive" sign that people are heeding public health advice.
"(It's) a reflection that we are taking to heart that need to stay close to home this summer and to experience all of the many beautiful places in our province," she said.
Watch an American Sign Language translation of the news conference on the provincial government's YouTube page.