B.C. now has 231 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, including a new case at another care home in Vancouver.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 45 new cases during the daily health briefing on Wednesday, March 18. One of those cases has been identified as a resident of the Vancouver-based long-term care facility, Haro Centre.
This means that there are 144 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 58 in Fraser Health, 16 within Vancouver Island Health, nine within Interior Health and four within Northern Health.
Henry announced that there were no new deaths due to the disease, but 13 people are now in critical care due to their symptoms – up from seven on Tuesday. Five people have recovered.
Henry reminded the public of Tuesday’s provincial order for bars to close and restaurants to move only to take-out if they cannot ensure their guests practice social distancing – which means staying at least six feet apart.
The next seven to 10 days marks a “critical time” in the fight against further spreading COVID-19, Henry said, because symptoms typically take roughly five days to show after contracting the disease.
“We are dealing today with things that happened 10 to 14 days ago,” she said. “The things we do now are going to help us 10 days – 14 days – from now.”
Health Minister Adrian Dix urged people to take social distancing seriously, as well as staying at home – two measures that are part of everyone’s “civiv duty,” he said.
“For anyone who hasn’t joined in this effort, who has been reluctant to join in these very explicit measures we can do to help one another, to help protect one another’s heath, I say it’s not too late to join the fight,” he said.
Dix added that 17,000 people in B.C. have now been tested for the disease through a throat or nose swab.
Henry said so far most of those testing efforts have focused on health care workers – many linked to the Lynn Valley Care Home outbreak – which tend to be younger women, those with serious symptoms and the elderly.
The new cases come as provincial and federal governments announced sweeping measures to combat the novel coronavirus. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth declared a state of emergency for the next two weeks. The federal government announced $82 billion in economic supports for those financially impacted due to lay offs and sickness.