B.C. announces just 7 new COVID-19 cases, 113 recoveries, no additional outbreaks
VANCOUVER -- Health officials in British Columbia announced just seven new test-positive cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, marking the smallest increase in infections since mid-March.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said she was pleased to report the update, which brought the total number of cases identified in B.C. since late January to 2,360.
Another 113 people have also recovered from the virus since Monday's briefing, which leaves the number of active cases across the province at 397.
"We also have no new community outbreaks to report today," Dr. Henry added.
Sadly, one more person has also died from COVID-19, bringing the province's death toll to 131. Dr. Henry said the latest person to succumb to the virus was a resident at a long-term care home in the Fraser Health region.
"Our condolences go to the families and the community and the care providers for this person," Henry said.
There are also 63 patients hospitalized due to the virus, including 16 who are in critical care or intensive care units. That's the lowest number of serious infections recorded since March 24.
British Columbia has been faring better than Ontario and Quebec, which announced 361 and 756 new cases on Tuesday, respectively, but officials stressed that the province's progress can be easily reversed if people begin flouting public health rules.
Dr. Henry acknowledged those restrictions have had a major impact on people's lives, and revealed the government has begun gathering feedback from the public on their experiences and behaviour during the pandemic.
People can share their thoughts in an online survey. Henry noted there will also be an opportunity for people to volunteer for a number of ongoing studies related to the pandemic, including one related to serology blood testing designed to determine immunity to COVID-19.
"I know that will appeal to a lot of people, so I encourage you to look at this survey," Henry said.
And despite the province's progress in containing the spread of the virus, there is still much apprehension as the government moves towards the second phase of its response, which will allow for increased social interactions and the reopening of a wide variety of businesses from restaurants to salons.
Henry said the province is being "measured and thoughtful" in its approach, and that she believes it's possible to begin reopening the province while maintaining public safety.
Doing so will depend on everyone continuing to take personal precautionary measures, she added. Henry asked people to keep washing their hands regularly, covering their mouth when they cough, and diligently staying home when they are sick with even mild cold or flu symptoms.
Watch an American Sign Language translation of the news conference on the provincial government's YouTube page.