Joint statement on Province of B.C.’s COVID-19 response, latest updates March 21, 2020

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Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:

“We are announcing 76 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 424 cases in British Columbia.

“It is with sadness that we share the news that another Lynn Valley resident who previously tested positive for COVID-19 has passed away. We offer our deepest condolences to their loved ones and the staff who cared for them.

“Every health region in British Columbia has people with COVID-19: 230 are in Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, 126 are in Fraser Health Authority, 37 are in Vancouver Island Health Authority, 27 are in Interior Health Authority and four are in Northern Heath Authority.

“Additionally, of the total COVID-19 cases: 27 individuals are currently hospitalized, of which 12 are in intensive care, six individuals have recovered and the remaining patients are at home in isolation.

“Until further notice, personal service establishments – like barbershops, salons, nail estheticians, health spas, massage parlours, tattoo shops and others – are ordered to close.

“As part of our COVID-19 response strategy, our B.C. team has been tracking the epidemiology of the virus. Epidemiology looks at the who, what, where and when of disease outbreaks – to better understand their sources and effectively combat them. That is how we were able to determine the initial cases in B.C. were travel-related.

“Because we now know a lot more about COVID-19, our testing strategy has evolved to focus on clusters and outbreaks, patients in hospital and health-care workers.

“Here in B.C., 55% of all positive cases are female. This is because we have seen younger, female health-care workers with the virus – mainly related to the Lynn Valley Care Centre and other long-term care outbreaks.

“As part of the virus tracking, we look at two curves: the total number positive test results and the date of symptom onset, as determined by the public health investigation of each case.

“We pay attention to the onset curve, because we know that the time from the onset of symptoms to when someone is tested can sometimes several days. This is because people’s initial symptoms may be too mild to consider speaking to their doctor or going for testing.

“As we get more information about the onset of symptoms from patients, the onset curve is updated to reflect this new information.

“To most effectively flatten the curve, and break the chain of transmission, we need everyone to take action at the onset stage. That is why we have put public gathering orders and social distancing measures in place now – to protect us in the weeks ahead.

“Now is the time to stay home as much as possible, and to keep a safe distance from others when outside. We are reminding British Columbians that their actions today will determine the impact of the virus in coming weeks.”

Learn More:

To view tables of epidemic curve and age distribution, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Epidemic_Curve_Age_Distribution_March_20_2020.pdf

For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community from COVID-19, and to use an online self-assessment tool visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/

For non-health information on COVID-19 call 1 888 COVID-19 or visit www.gov.bc.ca/covid19

For the latest videos and livestreaming of COVID-19 media availabilities, visit: https://www.facebook.com/BCProvincialGovernment/