British Columbia

B.C. confirms 12 new cases and 3 more deaths from COVID-19

Another 12 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in B.C., and three more people have died.

43 patients in hospital, 8 in intensive care; total deaths now stand at 152

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in British Columbia. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

Another 12 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in B.C., and three more people have died.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Thursday that B.C. has now confirmed 2,479 total cases of the novel coronavirus, including 152 people who have died. A total of 2,020 patients have recovered from their illness, which means there are now 307 active cases in the province.

As of Thursday, there are 43 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including eight in intensive care.

While B.C. seems to have flattened the curve of infection, Health Minister Adrian Dix pointed out that dozens of people here have died of this virus, and just today, 113 new deaths were reported in Ontario and Quebec.

He urged British Columbians to take personal responsibility for keeping infections at manageable levels, and that means living with small inconveniences like leaving contact information when dining in at newly reopened restaurants.

"These small actions … are what we owe to one another to help prevent the spread of the virus," Dix said.

"It's not a question of rights, but a question of our obligations as human beings to one another during an extraordinarily difficult time and I ask people with all my heart to follow the recommendations around physical distancing, to be generous and cooperative and open-hearted with one another."

Health officials have confirmed a new case of the novel coronavirus in an inmate at Mountain Institution in Agassiz, who had recently transferred from Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford. Public health teams from Fraser Health are investigating at both federal prisons.

Meanwhile, the outbreak at the United Poultry processing plant in Vancouver has been declared over

There are currently 14 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living, along with three in hospital acute care units.

Henry spoke to the recent recommendation from her federal counterparts suggesting people should wear masks when it isn't possible to keep a physical distance from others, a move she described as an act of respect and politeness.

She said wearing masks can provide an extra layer of protection for those around you in close quarters like public transit and small stores or during appointments with health-care providers or hair stylists.

But Henry stressed that not everyone will be able to wear a mask and those who do need to clean their masks regularly.

Men dying at higher rate in B.C.

Henry also addressed recent media reports that show women account for the majority of people who've died of COVID-19 in Canada.

She said the opposite is true in B.C. While male patients make up 48 per cent of confirmed cases to date, 60 per cent of those hospitalized and 62 per cent of those who have died are men.

Henry said there are studies under way around the world attempting to determine the reason for gender imbalances in deaths and hospitalizations.

Meanwhile, the health minister provided an update on the provincial order stating that long-term care staff can only work at a single facility.

Dix said that of the 545 facilities that have employed people who work in multiple sites, 499 have completed their single-site plan.

Dix described the process of implementing this order as complex but necessary to control the spread of the virus.

Camping in provincial parks limited to B.C. residents

Earlier Thursday, the province announced B.C. Parks campsites will be closed to non-B.C. residents this summer.

Non-B.C. residents with existing reservations must contact the B.C. Parks call centre before June 15 to cancel and receive a full refund.

Also Thursday, TransLink announced it was beginning to restore service to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. It is recommending commuters wear masks while riding on public transit.

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 Roshini Nair

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