The province is reporting 40 new confirmed COVID-19 infections and one more death, bringing the total number of infected to 271, with eight deaths province-wide.
Along with the increase in infections, the province has reported one more death in North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley Care Centre related to the coronavirus.
Within the Interior Health region, 12 confirmed cases have been reported, as of Thursday, March 19th.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, emphasized the importance of taking the virus outbreak seriously.
“We know there have been dramatic changes in our society and in the things we’re doing in British Columbia to do the best that we can to try and slow down and prevent the transmission of this infection in our communities,” said Henry. “This is not optional, and I want to be very clear, that everybody needs to take these actions now. This is what’s going to protect us for the next few weeks.”
Dr. Henry added that the actions taken so far by B.C. residents have been encouraging, but maintaining social connections are important.
“We want to make sure we’re not socially isolating our seniors, who are the most vulnerable to having a severe illness,” said Henry. “I’m calling on all of us to do what we can as our communities to support everybody.”
Dr. Henry is also encouraging residents to get outside and enjoy the outdoors while maintaining a safe distance from others.
In her address to the public, Henry noted that efforts must be made on a communal level as well.
“This is a really critical time for us, this is the time we need to build that firewall. We need to stop the transmission of this disease. We need to stay connected while we’re staying apart, and we need to take care of each other while we’re doing that,” concluded Henry.
The province has made a self-assessment tool available to the public and can be found here.