British Columbia

B.C. confirms just 2 new cases of COVID-19 as next phase of pandemic response begins

British Columbia has seen just two more cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the last 24 hours, while another three people have died of the illness.

Province has confirmed 2,446 cases of the coronavirus to date, including 146 people who have died

Health Minister Adrian Dix says British Columbians should not travel for non-essential reasons. But if you must hit the road, consider packing food with you instead of stopping in other communities. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

British Columbia has seen just two more cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the last 24 hours, while another three people have died of the illness.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Tuesday that there have been 2,446 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus to date, including 146 people who have died. A total of 1,975 have recovered from their illness, which means there are currently 325 active cases of the virus.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 45 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 12 in intensive care.

Henry said there are no new outbreaks in health-care settings or the community. There are currently 14 active outbreaks in long-term care and five in acute care units in hospitals. 

Phase 2 of the province's pandemic plan begins Tuesday, and some businesses are allowed to reopen as long as they adhere to specific guidelines.

"I want to reassure you that we would not be easing these restrictions if we did not feel we could do so safely," Henry said.

"We can flatten our curve and safely reopen our province, but we must take it slowly."

She said that any businesses that reopen must follow the guidelines from public health officials and WorkSafeBC.

'Working together and working out the kinks'

Henry also reminded members of the public to stay vigilant about washing their hands, avoiding touching their faces, keeping a physical distance and staying home in response to any symptoms of illness.

"I have no doubt that we will get through this by working together and working out the kinks in the coming weeks," she said.

Health Minister Adrian Dix pointed out that he and Henry made their first announcement on COVID-19 17 weeks ago.

"The people of B.C. stayed apart and worked together," he said. "All of you made a difference."

Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau extended the Canada-U.S. border closure to June 21. He said both countries agreed to extend the closure to "keep people in both our countries safe."

Dix said he supported that measure, but he is not convinced the situation in the States will improve enough within the next month to allow for safe reopening of the border in June. 

He said that while other Canadian provinces have enacted many of the same measures as B.C. to contain the pandemic, "the situation is much less clear" south of the border.

"The fact that they're struggling is nothing but a sorrow to us," Dix said.

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

With files from Courtney Dickson

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