British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on May 20, 2020

B.C. health officials say the province has confirmed another 21 cases of the novel coronavirus, and three more people have died.

Province confirms 21 new cases and 3 more deaths

A customer gets a haircut at She Point Beauty Salon in Burnaby, B.C., on Tuesday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)


  • There have been 2,467 confirmed COVID-19 cases in B.C.
  • 149 people have died of the disease.
  • Of those who have tested positive, 2,001 people have recovered.
  • As of Wednesday afternoon, there are 43 patients in hospital, including 10 in intensive care.
  • Premier John Horgan slammed the rise of racist incidents in the province.
  • The premier remains hopeful the NHL will resume using Vancouver as a host city.

B.C. health officials say the province has confirmed another 21 cases of the novel coronavirus, and three more people have died.

The latest numbers, released Wednesday afternoon, bring the total to date to 2,467 confirmed cases, including 149 deaths and 2,001 recoveries. Right now, 43 people are in hospital with COVID-19, including 10 in intensive care.

There are active outbreaks at 15 long-term care and assisted-living facilities in B.C. and three in hospital acute care units.

Earlier Wednesday, Premier John Horgan took time in a news conference to speak out strongly against the rise in racism that has seemingly been triggered by the conronavirus outbreak.

"Hate has no place in British Columbia," he said. "We are a strong and vibrant community because of the diversity that makes up this great province."

In a wide ranging address, Horgan also said he remains hopeful the NHL will choose Vancouver and possibly other B.C. hockey towns when the league starts up again in a modified format. 

"The Canucks are 100 per cent behind getting the hub city underway," he said. "If you have to spend a couple of months in one place for the summer, Vancouver would be the place to do it."

Canada's chief public health officer on Wednesday said Canadians should wear a face mask as an "added layer of protection" whenever physical distancing is a challenge.

"For the spring and summer months, strict adherence to the public health basics of physical distancing, handwashing and cough etiquette must continue as the bare minimum," Dr. Theresa Tam said during a news conference.

"In addition, where COVID-19 activity is occurring, use of non-medical masks or face coverings is recommended as an added layer of protection when physical distancing is difficult to maintain. And staying home when sick is a must, always and everywhere."

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said non-medical masks can be helpful for short periods of time to prevent the wearer from spreading any illness to others, but emphasized masks do not replace other measures aimed at maintaining distance and separation between people.

Rebellion Barber on Pandora Street in Victoria opened to two-hour line ups Tuesday with COVID-19 safety measures in full effect, with customers wearing masks, deep cleaning of instruments and chairs between cuts and physical distancing. (Michael McArthur/CBC)

At the provincial level, some B.C. businesses that have been closed for two months are slowly starting to reopen as the province enters the second phase of its pandemic response. The transition comes as B.C. continues to flatten the curve of infection.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, the federal government announced that the closure of the U.S.-Canada border to non-essential travel will be extended until June 21.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) issued a reminder to U.S. travellers on Wednesday, ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, that travel restrictions are still in place. Boaters, specifically, were reminded that crossing the border for recreation or tourism purposes is currently not allowed.


Top COVID-19 stories today

  • Here's a rundown on which businesses and services are allowed to reopen during phase 2 of B.C.'s pandemic response, and what the expectations are to minimize spread of COVID-19.
  • Visiting a favourite barber, hairdresser or aesthetician will be a far cry from what it used to be before COVID-19 took hold and forced salons to close in mid-March. 
  • Dental hygienists say new provincial health guidelines around protective wear for safety during dental procedures are confusing at best and may not go far enough.
  • B.C. has revised its policy for essential visitors to hospitals and long-term care homes to make it clear that people with disabilities still need access to vital supports.
  • Care aides, domestic violence workers and corrections staff are among the health and social service workers who are in line for a temporary pay bump during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Loved ones separated by the Canada-U.S. border are bracing for an even longer separation now that the ban on non-essential travel has been extended for at least another month. 
  • A professor a Thompson Rivers University has taken on a new role during the COVID-19 pandemic: making non-medical masks with an Indigenous flair

Important reminders:

Health officials widely agree the most important thing you can do to prevent coronavirus and other illnesses is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. 

The World Health Organization said more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 infections are estimated to be mild.

What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 8 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Canada had 79,112 confirmed cases of COVID-19. A CBC News tally of coronavirus deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 6,011. 

The numbers are not a complete picture, as they don't account for people who haven't been tested, those being investigated as a potential case and people still waiting for test results. 

For a look at what's happening across the country and the world, check the CBC interactive case tracker.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Stay home. Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority or 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

Find information about COVID-19 from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Non-medical information about COVID-19 is available in B.C. from 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. PT, seven days a week at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
  • Keep at least two metres away from people who are sick.
  • When outside the home, keep two metres away from other people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Masks won't fully protect you from infection, but can help prevent you from infecting others.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

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

With files from The Canadian Press


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