B.C. marks sixth consecutive day with no new COVID-19 deaths

B.C. marks sixth consecutive day with no new COVID-19 deaths

VICTORIA — British Columbia has marked six days in a row with no additional deaths due to COVID-19.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the death toll stood at 167 on Thursday and no new community or health-care outbreaks have been identified.

There were five active outbreaks in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

Henry said 14 more people have tested positive for the disease, bringing the total to 2,694.

There were 183 active cases, including 13 people in hospital with five in intensive care, while 2,344 people have recovered.

Henry expressed hope that a cluster of cases related to the COVID-19 outbreak at the Kearl Lake oilsands work site in Alberta is winding down.

The public health order that sets out requirements for restaurants has also been updated, she told a news conference. The change means restaurants, pubs and bars may now include patio seating when determining their capacity for dine-in service during the pandemic.

The update also clarifies the use of physical barriers, adds restrictions around self-serve areas and buffets, and identifies requirements for some of the “choke points” in restaurants, such as washroom lines, said Henry.

The situation in B.C. is not necessarily typical, Health Minister Adrian Dix said, since cases of COVID-19 are rising around the world and the province must remain vigilant.

“We must keep physical distancing as our constant companion.”

B.C. continues to see a rising use of emergency rooms and acute care beds, said Dix, and the number of surgeries being performed is also increasing.

The number of surgeries are now approaching the 6,000 performed in a typical week, he said.

More than 34,400 patients have been contacted about rescheduling their surgeries, said Dix, noting the number of surgeries performed this week is 4 1/2 times higher than in mid-April.

Henry also reiterated there would be no exceptions to public health rules if Vancouver is selected as a hub city for the restart of the National Hockey League later this year.

“Teams would have no contact with the public, with no spectators and no families,” she said.

Players and staff would also be subject to “intense screening and testing for the entire time” they are in B.C., she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 11, 2020.

The Canadian Press