B.C. health officials report 7 new COVID-19 cases, lowest daily count since early March
VICTORIA -- Health authorities in British Columbia announced seven new cases of COVID-19 in the province Tuesday, the lowest number of new daily cases announced since early March.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said one more person has died of the virus, bringing the province's COVID-19 death toll to 131. The death was recorded at a long-term care centre in the Fraser Health authority.
Seven new cases is the lowest daily total since March 12, when seven cases were reported.
Henry also said no new outbreaks have been discovered over the past 24 hours, though existing outbreaks continue in the Vancouver and Fraser Valley areas.
There are 482 cases associated with outbreaks at long-term care centres in the Lower Mainland; 295 cases among residents and 187 cases among staff.
There have now been 2,360 cases of the novel coronavirus in B.C. since the pandemic began.
Of those, 874 were recorded in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,124 in the Fraser Health region, 125 in the Island Health region, 180 in the Interior and 57 in the province's north.
There are 397 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. as of Tuesday afternoon, down significantly from the 504 recorded Monday.
There remain 63 people in hospital with the virus, 16 of them in critical and intensive care.
A total of 1,832 people in B.C. have fully recovered from the virus.
The provincial health officer also announced a new provincial COVID-19 survey seeking input from residents on their experiences during the pandemic.
"The information that we gather will help inform the decisions that we make in the weeks and months ahead," Henry said.
The survey, hosted by the BC Centre for Disease Control, also seeks feedback on how the province can use technology to co-ordinate virus contact tracing and information alerts in the future.
"It takes about 10 to 15 minutes," Henry said. "I encourage you to make the time to complete this survey and help us understand your experiences so far."
The health officer also addressed some British Columbians' concerns that reopening the province this month could lead to a quick return to spiking case levels.
"We are taking this slowly in our guidance and we're taking this slowly in how we're rolling out the phases and we need you to do that too," Henry said.
"We can safely restart our province," she said. "For us to get our society moving again, our economy moving again, we need to maintain control of COVID-19."
Henry stressed that washing our hands, covering our coughs and maintaining physical distance from one another remain the best measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
The provincial health officer said she will not be requiring residents to wear face coverings or non-medical masks in public as other jurisdictions have done.
"I really don't believe we should be requiring it. There are many reasons why some people cannot wear a mask or a face covering," Henry said, noting that small children and people with certain respiratory illnesses cannot safely wear them.
"For most situations it's not needed," she said.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix offered his condolences Tuesday to the family of the latest COVID-19 victim, saying the thoughts of the premier and of all British Columbians are with them at this time.
"Today, in terms of the number of cases, is a low day in British Columbia," Dix said.
"But just to be clear, we cannot – we just cannot – get ahead of ourselves."
The health minister said he would update the province Wednesday on the number of urgent surgeries that have taken place during the pandemic and the number of people who have been contacted to reschedule planned surgeries since the province announced it was restarting elective procedures last week.