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:
“Today, we are reporting 21 new cases, for a total of 2,428 cases in British Columbia.
"There are 355 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 1,932 people who tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered.
"Of the total COVID-19 cases, 49 individuals are hospitalized, 11 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
"Every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 878 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,184 in the Fraser Health region, 126 in the Island Health region, 181 in the Interior Health region and 59 in the Northern Health region.
"We are saddened to report one new COVID-19 related death in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, for a total of 141 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to the family, friends, and caregivers, and to everyone who has lost their loved ones.
"There have been no new health-care outbreaks since the new acute-care outbreak in the Abbotsford Regional Hospital was announced yesterday, involving six staff and two patients. This is an ongoing investigation by the Fraser Health Authority. In total, 15 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and five acute-care units have active cases.
“The public health investigation at the Oppenheimer Group, a vegetable processing plant in Coquitlam is ongoing, and active contract tracing is underway. Public health teams are also continuing to provide support for community outbreaks in the poultry sector, at the Mission Institution and with those connected to the Kearl Lake plant in Alberta.
“To be effective in Phase 2 of our B.C. Restart Plan, we have to move carefully. We know that in the early stages of illness, the symptoms of COVID-19 are often mild and hard to recognize. This means we must stay alert and vigilant.
“Let’s use this May long weekend to take a pause, stay close to home and think through how all of us will put B.C.’s safe social interaction ‘rules’ into action for ourselves, our families and our businesses.
“Starting on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, businesses can begin the process of safely reopening, and the provincial health officer orders have been amended accordingly.
“WorkSafeBC public health guidance is now available for several industry sectors. The guidance balances the need to be practical, sensible and safe when developing plans to reopen.
“The same ‘rules’ for social interactions apply to our businesses: fewer faces, smaller groups, shorter time together and bigger spaces.
“No matter what your business, or where you may be operating, it is very important to remember that the most effective way to reduce the potential for transmission of COVID-19 is through safe physical distancing and never allowing anyone with any symptoms to come into your place of business – whether it is you, your employees or your customers.
“Business owners may have questions as they adapt their businesses and develop COVID-19 safety plans. We’re here to support you.
“The WorksafeBC prevention information hotline (1 888 621-7233) is your first stop. Each health authority also has environmental health officers who can guide you along the way.
“We understand the importance of getting our B.C. businesses open once again, and an incredible amount of effort has been put into finding the best path forward.
“As we cautiously progress through our Restart plan, know that we are in this together. Step by step, let’s continue to do this safely, with kindness and compassion.”
For the Your Story, Our Future survey, visit: www.bccdc.ca/covid19survey
For those who cannot complete the survey online, or need assistance in another language, call 1 833 707-1900 to take the survey over the phone. Assistance is available seven days a week between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (Pacific time), in 150 languages.
For more information about BC's Restart Plan, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/restartbc
For B.C.'s surgical renewal plan, visit:
For the slides presented at the May 4, 2020, media briefing, visit:
For guidance and information on self-isolation and self-monitoring, including how to isolate if you live with others, visit:
For the provincial health officer's orders, notices and guidance, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/phoguidance
For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and testing, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/
Or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.
To learn where, when and how people with symptoms can be tested, visit:
The COVID-19 self-assessment app, which includes details about where, when and how to be tested, can be downloaded here: https://bc.thrive.health/
To learn more about Fair PharmaCare, including coverage, how to request an income review and the monthly deductible payment option, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Register_for_Fair_PharmaCare.pdf
For non-health related information, including financial, child care and education supports, travel, transportation and essential service information, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19
Or call 1 888 COVID19 (1 888 268-4319) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week.
For the latest videos and livestreaming of COVID-19 media availabilities, visit:
For a Chinese translation, visit: http://news.gov.bc.ca/files/2020.05.16_New_ExistingCasesCOVID-19_Chinese.pdf
A backgrounder follows.