There are now 1,291 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in B.C., after health officials announced 25 new cases Tuesday.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reports that there are 603 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), 458 in Fraser Health, 79 on Vancouver Island, 128 in Interior Health and 23 in Northern Health.
There are no new cases associated with long-term care facilities. Currently, there are 21 active outbreaks in facilities in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions.
There are currently 138 people in acute care in hospital, and 66 are in intensive care.
805 people have fully recovered and are no longer in isolation.
There have been four new deaths. Three in Vancouver Coastal Health, and one in Fraser Health.
“There are a lot of important religious celebrations in the coming days,” said Henry. “Around the world, we'll be celebrating in new ways.”
Henry encourages people to gather online and celebrate virtually during this critical period.
“This is also a time, I know, when many people will be thinking of travelling,” said Henry. “I implore you not to do this. Now is the time to stay home.”
Henry adds that group celebrations indoors are also problematic, even in small groups.
Henry also joked that this isn't the time for people to 'tinker' with their own hair in lieu of salon visits. She playfully apologized to her stylist, noting that she hoped her home attempt would settle soon.
Health Minister Adrian Dix adds that the province has made significant steps to prepare for the worst during the pandemic. He adds that everyone working in the health care system is vital during this time.
Dix adds that 130 faith leaders joined a call with Health Ministers to discuss how people could celebrate major religious events without coming together in large or small groups. He notes that the nice weather may tempt people to go outdoors, and to travel locally. However, he states that it is imperative that people stay home and in their communities.
“Let's bend the curve, not the rules this weekend,” said Dix.
Henry also encourages everyone to be kind to people who have to continue to work during the pandemic, such as those working in grocery stores, pharmacies, and in health care. She adds that isolation can be challenging, and that anyone who has an underlying illness should contact a doctor through virtual care. She mentions Anxiety Canada and Bounceback BC as useful resources for mental health.
Last week, Henry asked everyone to forgo all non-essential travel, particularly to small, remote communities around the province. She added that these communities may be overwhelmed and not have the resources to support people.
“In addition, we know that there's a very important time coming up for many people of different faiths,” Henry said. “We need to think about what we can do to support people in practicing their faith without having to have in-person gatherings.”
In a previous briefing, Henry noted that people should consult the new online assessment tool if they aren't sure if they require further testing or assessment for COVID-19. She also underscored the importance of physical distancing, hand washing, covering your mouth if you cough, not touching your face and staying home if you are sick.