COVID-19 cases jump by 77, bringing BC's total to 348

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the mandate in Friday's COVID-19 press conference, explaining how it has been challenging to maintain proper social-distancing measures in certain settings.

As part of new prevention measures, Dr. Henry also ordered today that all personal service establishments must close until further notice.

Five more people have been admitted to hospital, for a total of 27.

That care centre is one of three in the VCH region to have staff or residents test positive for the coronavirus. To date, just six B.C. residents who tested positive are considered recovered.

Henry said she agrees with the sentiment those doctors have been expressing. "We can prevent transmission of this virus between us, so that we can prevent people who are the most susceptible to having severe illness or dying from this disease from being exposed to it in the first place". This week, restaurants and bars were also ordered to close, aside from using delivery and take-out options.

She urged business to stay open if they are able to do so safely and while following social distancing regulations and supporting employees to stay home when they are sick.

"When we start talking about flattening the curve, it's not necessarily the tests per day that are important, it's the number of people getting infected, and making sure we can look back at those days ahead and isolate people before they can transmit it to others", she said.

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This week, Dix notes that the inquiry services for COVID-19 assessments have seen high usage rates.

Long-term care home workers in the Vancouver Coastal Health region will no longer be allowed to work at multiple facilities, the health authority said Saturday.

"We will track down and punish anyone caught misappropriating - the better word is stealing - the supplies we need for your protection", he said.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said we must do everything possible to support our frontline health care workers.

When it comes to enforceability, Henry says that there are peace officers around the province who can be called upon to enforce orders like closures and gatherings.

Henry once again stressed the importance of social distancing, saying "this is our chance to alter the course of this epidemic, and we can do it ... it's in our hands right now".

  • Ismael Montgomery