Busy weekend for COVID cases

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VICTORIA - Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:

"Today, we are providing case updates for three 24-hour reporting periods.

"In the first reporting period from June 19 to June 20, we had 10 new cases. In the second reporting period from June 20 to June 21, we had six cases and in the last 24 hours, we have had a further 16 new cases.

"This represents 32 new cases since we reported on Friday, for a total of 2,822 cases in British Columbia.

"There are 182 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 2,471 people who tested positive have recovered.

"Of the total COVID-19 cases, 14 individuals are hospitalized, six of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 954 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,474 in the Fraser Health region, 131 in the Island Health region, 198 in the Interior Health region and 65 in the Northern Health region.

"There has been one new COVID-19 related death in the Fraser Health region, for a total of 169 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks. In total, six long-term care or assisted-living facilities and one acute-care facility have active outbreaks.

"There have been no new community outbreaks. Public health teams continue to provide support for the three remaining community locations.

"The gradual easing of restrictions means more activities can get underway, but it does not change the need to maintain a safe social distance from others and to keep our groups small.

"The provincial health officer's order for no more than 50 people at any gathering stands and will be in place until we can stop COVID-19 in our province with an effective treatment or vaccine.

"This applies to everyone, no matter what the circumstances may be.

"Phase 3 will gradually allow for more types of activities, but how we interact with each other does not change. We have to remember that when the virus is anywhere, the risk is everywhere, and, as a result, we must remain cautious.

"The same approach we have taken with Phase 2 needs to be taken with Phase 3: staying low and slow, and modifying our approach as needed to move forward with thought and consideration.

"The order for restaurants and pubs has been amended to provide greater clarity around the size of barriers. Additionally, if there is an event on the premises, the names and phone numbers or emails of patrons at the event must be collected in case there is a need for public health officials to conduct contract tracing.

"If you are considering travelling outside of your local community to another part of the province, be respectful of the communities you plan to visit this summer and take the same precautions you would at home, as you enjoy the many beautiful spots within our province.

"Like all of us, B.C. communities are doing their own assessment to determine what may be safe and what is best to avoid. Some towns and regions who rely on tourism are eager to welcome visitors with safety measures in place, while others might not be ready to welcome people this summer.

"Respectful travel means maintaining safe social interactions, planning ahead and being prepared.

"If you get sick while away, self-isolate immediately, contact the local public health teams to get tested and get direction on whether you should go home or isolate in place.

"Before you go, find out what services are available and be as self-sufficient as possible with your own groceries and essential supplies to avoid putting an additional burden on smaller communities.

"Once away, closed spaces, close contact and crowds are higher risk, so anything that involves these things needs to be done with caution. This is done by taking precautions to protect yourself and those around you by maintaining a safe physical distance and using a cloth face covering or non-medical mask, for those times when a safe distance cannot always be maintained.

"As you travel this summer, please remain vigilant to protect others, recognizing there are vulnerable people everywhere. Be understanding, take care of each other and let's continue to do our part to protect our province and ourselves by protecting each other."