Three more people have died from COVID-19 in British Columbia and six are in hospital, as the government is taking further measures by adjusting the limit for public gatherings from 250 to 50 and postponing thousands of scheduled surgeries to help with health care capacity.
The announcements were made on Monday during the daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic by Adrian Dix, B.C. Health Minister and Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer.
The province is officially lowering the limit for people at public events and large gatherings down from 250, as previously announced to 50 as of Monday.
“I know that will have an impact on many people but we have also seen that businesses are taking responsibility, municipalities and other agencies are shutting down places where people are gathering and this is going to be really important for us for the coming weeks,” said Dr. Henry. “This is not forever, but it is important for now and foreseeable future.”
They also announced 30 new cases in British Columbia, bringing the total to 103 coronavirus cases.
“We now have 103 cases in British Columbia, six of them and six alone are currently in acute care,” said Dix. “Four people in total now have passed away and we are very very sorry about that, which is a very sad situation and we pass on our condolences to their families. As noted, five have fully recovered.”
Among the announcements was the postponement of all non-urgent or emergency surgeries across the province, in an effort to free up hundreds of beds and be prepared to accept new patients in hospitals that may have the coronavirus.
“British Columbia health authorities are directed to immediately move all hospitals in the province to Outbreak Response Phase 2,” directed Dix. “This means hospitals will only undertake urgent and emergency procedures and will postpone all non-urgent scheduled surgeries.”
The implementation will take three to five days, leading to thousands of scheduled and elective surgeries.
All B.C. Casinos have also been forced to close as a result of the new public gathering limit of 50 people, which has been directed by Dr. Henry.
Noting the important measures that B.C. was taking, Dix noted how crucial it is that people take their health and the health of others into their own hands and ensure they are isolating away from the community if they feel ill or if they’ve travelled.
“This is critically important, it is our civic obligation if people have travelled outside of Canada, they must self-isolate, they must self-isolate,” said an impassioned Dix. “It is our duty as people living in a community, our duty to the ones we love and our duty to British Columbians that we do not know.”