Health Emergency Declared In BC As Coronavirus Count Jumps To 186


SURREY – It looks like the deadly COVID-19 pandemic is going to get worst in BC before it gets better as a single day jump by 83 new cases of the virus with three new deaths has forced the BC government to declare Public Health Emergency in the province.

The province has now recorded a total of 186 cases and seven COVID-19 deaths.

Two of the new deaths are linked to the ongoing outbreak at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver, while the third was a man in his 80s in the Fraser Health region.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told the daily news conference on Tuesday that the surge in new cases reflects a lag in test results as a number of new test sites came online, including in hospitals and urgent and primary care centres in the Lower Mainland.

There was a delay in confirming a number of presumptive cases at the BC Centre of Disease Control, she said. Those cases are now confirmed and part of the official count, reported Global News.

Henry said people who tested presumptive positive in that wave were notified at the time, as were public health officials.

She said the province would continue with attempts at containment, including testing and contract tracing, but that B.C. was now moving to a strategy of outbreak mitigation.

That includes ordering all people entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days, and further increasing social-distancing measures, including the mandatory and immediate closure of bars and night clubs.

“Restaurants and cafes in some cases can meet this criteria for physical distancing, but those who cannot meet the physical distancing will need to close or move to takeout and delivery service.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix sought Tuesday to allay concerns about reported shortages of health-care equipment, saying B.C. has just received a large shipment of testing swabs.

“We are soon to receive significant new shipments of masks, of N95 masks, which is of concern to a lot of people in the community, obviously in health care,” he said.

Dix said COVID-19 assessment clinics have now been established in all health authorities.

He added that more than half a million people had now used the new online self-assessment tool to help determine whether they need to be tested.