Three more people have died, and 30 others have contracted the COVID-19 virus over the weekend, according to the province.
B.C. Health Officer Bonnie Henry announced the latest figures that bring the provincial infections to 103.
“We are deeply saddened to announce that three people who had tested positive for COVID-19 have recently passed away, all of whom were residents of the Lynn Valley Care Home,” Henry said. “We offer our heartfelt condolences to their loved ones and the staff who cared for them during this difficult time.”
Six of the people who tested positive are in acute care, she said.
A “significant number” of people who became infected are those who attended the Pacific Dental Conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre on March 6 and 7.
“We are asking anyone who attended to self-isolate until March 22, 2020,” Henry said.
In preparing for the pandemic, B.C is postponing all non-urgent surgeries.
“Lions Gate Hospital in the Vancouver Coastal Health region is directed to move to Outbreak Response Phase 3. This means the hospital will accept only emergency patients,” Henry said. “Lions Gate Hospital is also preparing to open a dedicated COVID-19 unit to provide care to those with the virus.”
The province is also ending the requirement for people needing refill medications to see their doctor first. Now, the pharmacist can refill a prescription without the usual required visit to a doctor.
“This will give physicians more time to care for patients with acute care needs. British Columbians are asked to respect this temporary arrangement and are reminded that there is no need to stockpile medication,” Henry said.
The province is also asking regulators to begin emergency registration of non-practising or retired, health-care professionals, including those from other jurisdictions and the armed forces.
“Further, we are moving to restrict visitors in long-term care to essential visits only,” Henry said. “Essential visits include compassionate visits for end-of-life care and visits that support care plans for residents based on resident and family needs, for example, families who routinely visit to provide assistance with feeding or mobility.”
The province has also created a dedicated help line for people who think they may have COVID-19 symptoms. It is 1-888-COVID19.
The province is also strengthening its push to social distancing.
“We are issuing a new order prohibiting all public gatherings of more than 50 people,” Henry said. “This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings and other similar events.”
In addition, BC Casinos have shut down.
The City of Surrey has also issued notice that it’s closing recreation centres, libraries and ice rinks. Summer camps and day cares for kids will, for now, remain open.