British Columbia

B.C. health officials say masks can be helpful, as 21 new COVID-19 cases and 3 more deaths announced

Another 21 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in B.C. and three more people have died, according to provincial officials.

New cases bring total to 2,467; 149 people have died

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gave her daily update on COVID-19 in a written statement on Wednesday. (CBC)

Another 21 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in B.C. and three more people have died, according to provincial officials.

To date, 2,467 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in B.C. and 149 people have died, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

Right now, 43 COVID-19 patients are in hospital, including 10 in intensive care. After 2,001 recoveries from the virus, there are 317 active cases in the province.

Henry and Dix addressed new recommendations from federal officials, who now say Canadians should wear face masks as an "added layer of protection" when physical distancing isn't possible.

"When it is difficult to keep a safe physical distance for an extended period of time — for example, when you are on transit —this is a good way for you to protect those around you," Henry and Dix said in the statement.

"We have to remember that face coverings keep our droplets in and don't prevent transmission from others. The best ways for us to stay safe is to wash our hands, maintain a safe physical distance from others and keep our 'rules' for social interactions top of mind."

New outbreak at Mission care home

Wednesday's update also included news of a new COVID-19 outbreak at The Cedars assisted-living facility in Mission. Right now, there are active outbreaks at 15 long-term care and assisted-living facilities in B.C. and three in acute care units in hospitals.

On a brighter note, the outbreaks in two acute care units at Ridge Meadows Hospital have been declared over.

As more businesses and services begin to reopen this week, health officials say the plan to restart the province was drafted carefully to protect the health and safety of the public.

"Our 'new normal' is different from the way we have done things before, but we can reopen our schools and our businesses, and increase our connections in a way that is safe for everyone," Dix and Henry said.

Earlier Wednesday, Premier John Horgan held a wide-ranging news conference about B.C.'s response to the pandemic, condemning racism that has been linked to the crisis.

He also said he's hopeful that Vancouver could be chosen as a hub city for NHL games if the league resumes in a modified format.

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca

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