B.C. reports no new deaths from COVID-19 as confirmed cases climb to 1,618
78 people have died from the novel coronavirus to date, and 119 people are in hospital
No new deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in B.C. in the last 24 hours, but 43 new cases have been confirmed, provincial officials announced Friday afternoon.
There have now been 1,618 cases of the novel coronavirus in this province, and 78 people have died of the disease.
As of Friday afternoon, 119 people were in hospital with COVID-19, including 52 in intensive care.
"We are in the eye of the storm in a Category 5 hurricane. The risk is still very high and there are many unknowns, but we are hopeful that with all of us standing strong, the storm will continue to lessen," provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a written statement.
"What happens next is directly tied to your continued efforts. We still have new cases, new outbreaks and tragically, new deaths. We cannot afford a resurgence that will undo all of the effort and sacrifices we have made so far."
The province is reporting 1,284 completed COVID-19 tests in the last day, for a total of 60,668 to date.
A total of 966 people are now listed as recovered from their illness, a decrease from the 983 reported one day earlier.
The change is the result of new criteria to determine recovery used by Vancouver Coastal Health that "includes consideration for specific patient symptomology," according to the government statement.
No new outbreaks have been recorded by the province, though COVID-19 continues to spread at Mission Institution, where 63 people have tested positive for the disease. Six of those people are in hospital.
There are active outbreaks at 20 long-term care homes as well as at an acute care unit at Ridge Meadows Hospital.
Physical distancing measures will continue
Earlier Friday, the province released statistics that show B.C. has so far succeeded in reducing the number of cases and avoided overwhelming the health-care system.
Henry suggested the province could start easing some restrictions next month — including the cancellation of elective surgeries — but only if the number of new cases keeps falling.
She also cautioned that significant restrictions would still be in place for some time, likely until a vaccine has been developed for the virus.
Friday afternoon, Dix and Henry confirmed that B.C. is "bending the curve" of infection, but warned against complacency.
"We all want opportunities for more social connection, but we're not there yet. To safely ease restrictions, we must be thoughtful and careful in our approach," they said.
"Our new normal in the months ahead will be a modification of what we are doing now. The physical distancing measures, staying home if you are ill and following good hand hygiene will continue."
For businesses hoping to reopen, Dix and Henry say that the current standards of operation for essential businesses will serve as a template.
"Clear parameters will be given, and we will connect with individual sectors to determine how best to work within the requirements," the government statement says.
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