British Columbia has recorded three deaths and 24 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 48 hours, health officials said Thursday.
Fifteen of the new cases came between Tuesday and Wednesday, while nine were in the last 24 hours.
It brings B.C.’s case total to 2,940. Seven of those cases are “epidemiologically-linked”, while the remainder have been lab-confirmed.
The province’s death toll now stands at 177, while the number of active cases has climbed by eight to 160.
Seventeen COVID-19 patients remain in hospital, while just two are in intensive care.
There were no new community or health-care outbreaks announced Thursday.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said all community outbreaks in the province have now been declared over.
Dix added that the province has made progress chipping away at the backlog of about 30,000 surgeries postponed during the pandemic.
Health workers have contacted an estimated 55,000 people about re-scheduling the operations, he said, while surgeons regularly exceeded the average weekly number of procedures performed province-wide in June.
“That’s four consecutive weeks (at) over 6,000 surgeries (each week). It’s the most surgeries the health-care system has performed in a week for quite some time,” said Dix.
Henry called on anyone travelling within B.C., including those from outside the country or province, to ensure they’re following COVID-19 precautions with what she dubbed “travel manners.”
Those manners include social distancing, wearing masks where distancing is not possible, and keeping gatherings small.
She also stressed that a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone entering the country remains in force until Aug. 31. The U.S. border remains closed to most traffic until at least July 21, with room for a possible extension.
That said, Henry also warned people not to pre-judge drivers whose vehicles have U.S. licence plates.
She said border officials have documented a large number of Canadians with U.S.-registered vehicles who have returned to B.C. in recent months.
“Have some compassion. Be calm about it, recognizing that we may not understand everybody’s situation,” said Henry.
Air travel concerns
Dix responded Thursday to concerns about airlines dropping physical-distancing measures on Canadian flights, noting that the matter was in federal jurisdiction.
He said physical distancing remains the most important precaution to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but is not the only way to protect against it.
“What it tells us is if we have less physical distancing, is the absolute need for people who go on airplanes to be disciplined about all of the other things they do,” said Dix — highlighting hand hygiene and masks as key precautions.
Henry said it also speaks to the importance of airlines and passengers themselves both ensuring that no one who has COVID-19 symptoms or who has been in recent contact with an infected person boards a plane.
Earlier this week, passengers aboard three Vancouver-bound flights were warned to monitor themselves for symptoms due to possible exposure to the virus.View link »