Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speak at press conference at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on Monday, February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., bringing total to 64

All new cases within the Vancouver Coastal Health authority

There are 11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., bringing the total to 64.

All the new cases are within the Vancouver Coastal Health region, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a daily health update in Vancouver on Friday. This includes three staff members at Lion’s Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.

The other new cases announced Friday include five related to travel, one linked to the ongoing outbreak at Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver.

Two of B.C.’s COVID-19 patients are being treated in hospital, Henry said. Six people have recovered and one person has died.

So far, 6,326 people have been tested for the novel coronavirus, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. Henry said that only those who show symptoms will be tested by health care staff.

The B.C. government said it will provide more details on testing locations over the upcoming weekend.

READ MORE: Do you think you have COVID-19? Here is what to do next

In the meantime, HealthLink BC’s 811 phone line has seen a significant spike in inquiries – roughly 10,000 calls in the last three days compared to the average 1,200 calls per day.

Health Minister Adrian Dix admitted that may mean longer wait times to connect with a nurse.

“We understand that there is significant pressure and lots of people are having trouble getting through,” he said.

Ban on public gatherings upgraded to provincial order

Henry also announced Friday that the B.C. government’s ban on gatherings with more than 250 attendees will be upgraded to a provincial order, which will allow organizers to recoup cancellation costs through insurance policies.

But despite all these measures, Henry said that British Columbians shouldn’t fear getting outdoors ahead of spring break so long as people maintain safe distances, wash their hands regularly and stay clean.

“We’re not talking about shutting down society here,” she said. “It’s still very safe today in B.C. – all across B.C. – to go out, to go shopping, to go to restaurants.”

More to come.


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ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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