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B.C. confirms 15 new cases of COVID-19, for total of 2,330

There are two additional deaths.
dr Bonnie Henry may 8Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 12.14.26 PM
B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media on May 9. | Screenshot

There are now 2,330 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in B.C., after health officials announced 15 new cases Saturday.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported a total of 871 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), 1,098 in Fraser Health, 125 on Vancouver Island, 180 in Interior Health and 56 in Northern Health.

There were two additional deaths announced today, both of whom were residents in long-term care facilities, for a total of 129 fatalities in the province. 

There are currently 69 people in hospital receiving care for COVID-19 in B.C., with 21 of those individuals in critical care. 

There are now 1,659 people who have fully recovered and are no longer in isolation. "That's 71 per cent of our confirmed cases," pointed out Henry. "That's the positive side of this, is that people are continuing to recover from this disease."

There are no new outbreaks in long-term care facilities within the past 24 hours. Currently, there are 16 active outbreaks in long-term facilities and five more in acute care facilities. Nineteen outbreaks have been declared over, including one in the past day in the Fraser Health region, as well the Lynn Valley Care Centre, which was one of the first major outbreaks.

Henry said 467 of B.C.'s confirmed cases are associated with those outbreaks, including 285 residents - an increase of 3 today - and 182 staff. 

Tomorrow is Mothers' Day, as Henry pointed out, a time to celebrate many of the important women in our lives. "Let's show how much we care for them by ensuring we are doing all we can do to keep them safe. Safe physical distancing remains an important part of what we need to do right now in British Columbia to keep our mothers and our communities safe - particularly if your mother is older, if she's awaiting surgery, has any underlying illnesses, avoid that close physical contact, even if - we all know how much we want and need that," Henry advised.

Instead, she recommended spending time with your mother outdoors, while keeping a safe distance, if she's not part of your immediate household "bubble." 

To that end, Henry also had a message for seniors. 

"I know this has been the most difficult and trying time for all of you," she said. However, "the best thing" seniors can do right now to protect themselves is to continue to minimize contact with others. For those who live independently, Henry recommends they continue to take precautions, while encouraging them to spend time with family at a safe distance, outdoors. 

In long-term care homes and assisted living facilities, restrictions on visitors continue to be in effect in order to protect residents. "We recognize absolutely how essential family members are for providing care," within these facilities, said Henry, "and we are working, absolutely, on plans to make sure we can let families back in to support our seniors and elders, but in a safe way." 

These, "new ways of doing things," will be unveiled in the coming weeks and days, Henry added. 

Earlier this week, Premier Horgan unveiled B.C.'s new guidelines to re-open the provincial economy. B.C.’s economy will restart in four phases, with the first order of business being the resumption of elective surgeries, personal care services, like dentistry, hair salons, retail and the reopening of provincial parks for day use starting in mid-May.

But concerts, conventions and other large gatherings -- phase four – could continue to be banned for one to two years, as their resumption are contingent on a vaccine being developed, the development of herd immunity or a new drug to treat the COVID-19 virus.

- With files from Elana Shepert