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77 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. bring Canada's total to more than 1,000
VANCOUVER -- Health officials in British Columbia announced 77 new cases of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 Friday, bringing the provincial total to 348 and raising Canada's nationwide total across the 1,000 mark.
Of B.C.'s cases, 22 are currently in hospital, said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Some 10 of those cases are in intensive care units, she said.
Additionally, some two dozen health care workers in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19, Henry said.
One of those health care workers is at the Dufferin Care Centre in Coquitlam. Health officials announced the outbreak at that care home, the fourth one in Metro Vancouver to be hit by COVID-19, earlier in the day on Friday.
Henry dedicated a significant portion of her remarks Friday to the province's health-care workers, sometimes speaking to them directly.
"I know how challenging it is," she said. "It's been a tremendous challenge for our health care sector."
Henry said most of the health-care workers who have tested positive for the virus have had mild infections that have been managed at home. At the same time, lots of workers continue to provide care safely, without contracting the virus, she said.
"We know that hundreds of people have been safely cared for by our health-care worker teams here in Vancouver, here in B.C., here in Canada over the last few months," Henry said. "We know that they're safely cared for because of the dedication and the intense practice that we have in our health-care worker system."
Over the past week, B.C.'s health officials have imposed dramatic new measures in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, including banning gatherings of more than 50 people and closing all public schools, bars and clubs.
On Friday, Henry added to that list a requirement that all restaurants in the province cease operating with table service, transitioning to a takeout and delivery model only.
On top of that, Henry renewed her urgent calls for social distancing.
"This is not optional," she said Thursday. "I want to be very clear that everybody needs to take these actions now. This is what's going to protect us for the next few weeks – it's going to protect ourselves, it’s going to protect our families."
Asked whether the messaging around people going outside has been contradictory, with officials both encouraging people to stay home and suggesting that outdoor recreation is still acceptable, Henry reiterated the need for physical distance.
Congregating in groups on beaches in the City of Vancouver is not a good idea, she said. Likewise, playing basketball or other team sports that lead to close physical contact is not a good idea.
But leaving the house to ride a bicycle or go for a walk alone is acceptable, Henry said, noting that the key is to stay a safe distance away from others.
Of B.C.'s 348 cases of COVID-19, 200 are located in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, which extends from Richmond to Whistler. Ninety-five others are located in the Fraser Health region, which stretches from Burnaby to Hope. There are 30 cases in the Island Health region, which includes Vancouver Island, 19 in the Interior Health region, which includes Kelowna and Kamloops, and 4 in Northern Health, which covers the province's north.
There have been nine deaths from the virus in B.C., so far. Eight of those killed by COVID-19 were residents at Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver, which was the first seniors' care home to have an identified outbreak. The other person killed was an elderly man in the Fraser Health region, Henry said.
In total, 36 residents and 18 health-care workers at Lynn Valley Care Centre have tested positive for the coronavirus.
A total of six people in B.C. have recovered from COVID-19, Henry said Friday.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Andrew Weichel and Alyse Kotyk