British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on May 24, 2020

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says Phase 2 is going well and will provide her next public briefing on Monday at 3 p.m. PT.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will provide her next public briefing Monday at 3 p.m. PT

A person in a mask passes by naked mannequins inside a closed clothing store in Vancouver this week. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • 10 new cases of COVID-19 were announced Saturday afternoon. 
  • There were two new deaths, both at long-term care homes.
  • There have been 2,517 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province. 
  • Of those who have tested positive, 2,057 people have recovered.
  • As of Saturday, there are 303 active cases in B.C. 
  • 157 people have died of the illness.
  • There are 39 patients in hospital, including eight in intensive care.

British Columbia's top doctor says she strongly encourages the federal government to use its resources to monitor international travellers entering the province. 

Dr. Bonnie Henry says public servants from various provincial ministries have been working to ensure about 18,000 people who returned to B.C. during the COVID-19 pandemic are self-isolating.

Henry says "meticulous follow-up" is needed if and when the border between the United States and Canada is reopened to ensure anyone with COVID-19 isn't passing the illness on to others.

She says discussions are expected to be held with her federal counterparts on how that could be done with help from Ottawa.

Henry says the province is beefing up public health teams this summer to keep up with COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and tracking because more cases are probable in the fall with the arrival of seasonal respiratory illnesses.

Latest numbers

There will be no update of provincial COVID-19 numbers Sunday. Henry's next update will be Monday at 3 p.m. PT.

On Saturday she announced 10 new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 2,517, including 2,057 patients who have recovered.

The province also recorded two more deaths, totalling 157 fatalities.

Henry encouraged people to keep gatherings small as the weather improves to prevent outbreaks and enable public health officials to quickly find those who may have become infected.

An easing of restrictions in some countries has led to large outbreaks, such as in South Korea, where one person spread the illness to thousands of people, including those who had been to a night club, she noted.

'We need to be more vigilant'

"As we're opening up more settings we need to be more vigilant."

Henry has advised against international travel but said she will be encouraging British Columbians to travel locally and support businesses close to home this summer, "if we're mindful of the potential for outbreaks."

However, she said many small communities may be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, including First Nations, which could face greater losses during an outbreak.

"I would leave it to them to determine whether it is safe for people to travel to their communities. It's up to them to determine when they're ready for that, if at all this summer. And it may be that some areas will not be appropriate for us to visit unless we're invited in."

READ MORE: 

Top COVID-19 stories today

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 noon on Sunday, Canada had 84,655 confirmed coronavirus cases. A CBC News tally of deaths attributed to coronavirus based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC's journalism stood at 6,446 as of Saturday.

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 impact@cbc.ca

With files from The Canadian Press

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