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11 new cases of coronavirus in VCH region, B.C. total now 64

There are 11 new cases of the coronavirus in B.C., health officials announced Friday, bringing the provincial total to 64.
Adrian Dix Bonnie Henry
B.C. Minister of Health Adrian Dix (right) and provincial health officer Bonnie Henry (left) provide an update on the province's COVID-19 cases.

There are 11 new cases of the coronavirus in B.C., health officials announced Friday, bringing the provincial total to 64. 

Three of the cases are administrative staff members of Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. 

None of the three employees, who are now at home in isolation, has worked in clinical areas at the hospital, according to a statement issued by Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) early Friday afternoon.

VCH is currently investigating how the three employees contracted COVID-19.

Another of the 11 new cases is a close contact of a health care worker at the Lynn Valley Care Centre who was previously diagnosed with COVID-19, while two of the new cases are under investigation, said Henry. 

The last five of the new cases are all travel-related, said Henry. The patients had recently travelled to Iran, Egypt, Mexico and the Philippines. 

All of the new cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, said Henry.

Two of B.C.'s COVID-19 cases, both previously-announced, are in hospital, said Henry. 

Everyone must 'play their part': Dix

On Thursday, Henry said that B.C. was advising against non-essential travel outside of Canada, including to the US. 

She clarified that statement Friday, saying the province would consider travel essential for anyone whose work relates to the movement of goods and people across borders — such as truckers and airline crews, for example.

Those workers won't be subjected to the 14-day self-isolation period that Canada is requiring of international travellers who arrive in the country, but they should self-monitor for any symptoms of the coronavirus. 

Meanwhile, Henry said the request for event organizers to cancel all events with over 250 people will be made a mandatory order. That will allow organizers to apply for insurance to cover costs. 

"We are not talking about shutting down society here," said Henry. "We are still very safe today in B.C. to go shopping, to go to restaurants."

People also don't need to stay holed up indoors, said Henry.

"This virus does not transmit when people are outdoors, so go outside and play with your family, go up to our ski hills, go up to Whistler. Go out and experience what we have in British Columbia," she said. 

British Columbia is facing its "share of a global pandemic," said Health Minister Adrian Dix. 

"We are going to be tested in the coming days as well," said Dix. "The challenges in the next four weeks will dwarf the challenges of the of the past four weeks."

All British Columbians will have to do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, said Dix. 

"We're all part of this," he said. "And so when we ask people not to travel outside of Canada, that's playing our part. When we ask people to stay home when they're sick, that's playing your part. When we ask people to wash their hands, that's playing our part."

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