The number of novel coronavirus cases in the Interior Health region rose to 12, the provincial government announced on Thursday afternoon.
In its daily media gathering regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in B.C., provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix also announced 40 cases throughout British Columbia.
There are now 271 cases in the province, up from 240 on Wednesday and 186 on Tuesday. The Vancouver Coastal Health region had 152 cases, with 81 in the Fraser health region. Another 22 were on Vancouver Island, with four in northern B.C.
Henry and Dix also announced that 17 of those cases were in hospital, up from 13 on Wednesday. Of those 17, nine were in intensive care, up from seven on Wednesday.
Of those nine, eight were in the Vancouver Coastal region with the ninth being in the Fraser region.
Further, they announced another death, the province’s eighth. It was linked to a care centre in North Vancouver.
Henry and Dix again encouraged residents to practice social distancing avoid public gatherings to help limit the spread of the virus.
Henry also said it’s important to stay home as much as possible, but added that for those who aren’t showing signs of illness to go outdoors.
“There are things you can do even if we’re doing social distancing,” said Henry. “You can walk your pet. You can go for a bike ride. You can play with your kids.
“And these are the things that you want to do in a small group as a family together. And maintain your distance from others when you’re outside as well.”
She added “it’s important to get outside a little bit now and then, and to make sure that you that you get some exercise, you get some fresh air. I think that is important for all of our mental and physical health.”
A dedicated coronavirus website says there were 242,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide, along with 9,800 deaths.
As of Wednesday, the website said, China had the largest number of confirmed cases at 81,155, followed by Italy at 41,035 and Iran and 18,407. It also said Canada’s total on Wednesday was 694, though the country had 736 on Thursday and 10 deaths.
Notably, Washington state had 1,187 confirmed cases and 68 deaths.
Dix noted that the provincial government’s self-assessment tool that’s available online has been accessed 1.15 million times. He also said B.C.’s 811 number for COVID-19 received 1,895 calls on Wednesday.
“Those are all significant achievements and be able to give people access to the information that they need,” said Dix.
“As Dr. Henry has said, there are extraordinary things happening all over B.C., as people work together to follow the directives of the provincial health office and do what they need to do to support their community and support one another during this difficult period.”