British Columbia

B.C. records 2 more COVID-19 deaths and 67 new cases, bringing total to 792

Another two people have died of COVID-19 in B.C., bringing the province's total to 16 deaths caused by the virus.

Staff at 2 new long-term care homes have also tested positive for the virus; 275 patients have recovered

B.C. has now recorded 16 deaths from the novel coronavirus. (Michael McArthur/CBC)

Another two people have died of COVID-19 in B.C., bringing the province's total to 16 deaths caused by the virus.

On Friday, B.C. confirmed 67 additional cases of the virus, for a total of 792 patients. Seventy-three of those patients are currently being treated in hospital.

Two hundred and seventy-five people have now recovered from their illness and have been cleared to leave isolation, according to a news release from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Staff at two additional long-term care homes in the Fraser Health region have tested positive for COVID-19 — The Harrison at Elim Village and Chartwell Independent Living at Langley Gardens. The province has recorded outbreaks at 11 long-term care homes to date.

"In the past few days, our upward path has been less severe than other places, but we continue to see steady increases in community transmission cases and continue to be concerned about outbreaks, which could quickly grow and challenge our pandemic response," Dix and Henry said in the statement.

"The evidence is clear: with every person in British Columbia 100 per cent committed to physical distancing, we can flatten the curve. Over the next two weeks we must be united in this one goal."

In response to the growing number of outbreaks at care homes in the Lower Mainland, Henry has mandated that all health-care workers in the province can only put in shifts at a single facility.

She has also ordered that vendors at B.C. farmers markets can only sell food.

"We strongly discourage any in-person gathering of any size at this time, but rather encourage using the many online options we have available today to stay connected to friends, family, customers and clients," Dix and Henry said.

Earlier Friday, Henry released the results of provincial modelling that shows how physical distancing measures may have helped slow the spread of the disease in B.C.

Henry said the results give her a "glimmer of hope," but that hope will only be borne out if British Columbians continue to stay at home whenever possible, avoid gatherings of any size and keep a two-metre distance from other people.

The models also suggest that B.C. hospitals are "reasonably" prepared to handle a surge in critical COVID-19 patients.

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