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B.C. announces 21 new cases of COVID-19, 3 more deaths as recoveries top 2,000
VANCOUVER -- Health officials in British Columbia have announced 21 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix announced the new cases in a news release Wednesday. There have now been 2,467 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in B.C., and 149 people have died.
Two of the people who died over the last 24 hours were residents of the Fraser Health region, while the third resided in Vancouver Coastal Health.
"We offer our condolences to the family, friends and caregivers of these individuals, as well as to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic," Henry and Dix said in their statement.
There are 317 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C., including 43 people who are in hospital with the virus, 10 of whom are in intensive care.
The number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered is now 2,001.
Health officials also announced the discovery of a new outbreak of the virus at The Cedars in Mission, an assisted-living facility. They did not say how many people had tested positive for COVID-19 at the facility.
There are now 15 active outbreaks at long-term care and assisted living facilities in the province, and three in hospital acute-care units, health officials said. They added that both acute-care outbreaks at Ridge Meadows Hospital have now been declared over.
The latest update comes as B.C. begins phase two of its reopening plan, with restaurants and hair salons across the province resuming operations with extra precautions in place to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.
“Every step in B.C.’s Restart Plan has been given careful thought and consideration to ensure the health and safety of British Columbians comes first," Dix and Henry said in their statement Wednesday. “Our ‘new normal’ is different from the way we have done things before, but we can reopen our schools and our businesses, and increase our connections in a way that is safe for everyone."
Officials also addressed newly announced federal guidance recommending wearing non-medical face masks when it is difficult to maintain a safe physical distance for an extended period of time. Henry and Dix cited public transit as an example of a location where a mask would be recommended.
"This is a good way for you to protect those around you," B.C. officials said. “We have to remember that face coverings keep our droplets in and don’t prevent transmission from others. The best ways for us to stay safe is to wash our hands, maintain a safe physical distance from others and keep our ‘rules’ for social interactions top of mind."
The vast majority of positive tests for COVID-19 have been recorded in the Lower Mainland, with 1,214 in Fraser Health and 885 in Vancouver Coastal Health.
Elsewhere in the province, there have been 182 cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health, 126 in Island Health and 60 in Northern Health.
Wednesday's new cases marked a significant departure from Tuesday's update, when Henry and Dix revealed just two new cases of the virus, which was the lowest number since early March.
"When you're testing and you're looking for cases and you only find two, that's a very positive indication," Dix said.
The pair will deliver an in-person update and take questions from the media again on Thursday at 3 p.m.