No new COVID-19 deaths in B.C. since Friday

No new community outbreaks over past few days

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry. | BC Government

There have been no new deaths from COVID-19 in B.C. since Friday, and no community outbreaks.

While new cases ticked up slightly back into double digits between Friday and Sunday, they dropped back to single digits between Sunday and Monday, according to provincial health officer Bonnie Henry.

Despite the encouraging numbers, Henry said the precautions, like restrictions on gatherings of more than 50 people, will have to remain in place “for months to come.”

The one exception to the general rule is anti-racism demonstrations, like the ones that have taken place in Vancouver over the last two weeks. Henry actually appeared to encourage such demonstrations at her press conference Monday.

"It's very important that we put our voices out there for things like anti-racism and have our voices heard, because it is an incredibly important issue, even in the middle of a pandemic," she said. "But there's ways to do that safely. We have seen people who have been very effective at doing that in a safe way, and that is what I encourage: Small numbers. You can be very impactful with many small numbers."

There were 36 new COVID-19 cases since Friday – 14 between Friday and Saturday, 16 between Saturday and Sunday and six between Sunday and today.

That brings total cases in B.C. to 2,745, of which 2,395 are deemed recovered.

One outbreak at the Granville Park Lodge has been declared over, leaving just four long-term care homes still with active cases. There have been no new community outbreaks and no new deaths since Friday. Henry added an outbreak at the Kearl Lake oil sands project in Alberta has been declared over. A number of British Columbians who worked at the project became infected.

B.C. is now one month into the second phase of a four-phase restart of the economy, and is easing into phase three, which could see the reopening of movie theatres,hotels, and the resumption of film and TV production between now and September.

Henry said phase three is not an on-off switch, but a "dimmer switch," in which restrictions on things like travelling within B.C. are being gradually lifted.

"For this summer, we want people to experience B.C. -- to stay home, to travel within B.C., but do it in a way that doesn't put undue burden on the place that you're going."

Some students in B.C. have been back in class for a few weeks now, and so far there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 related to the resumption of some classes, Henry said.

In some parts of B.C., there have been no new COVID-19 cases for some time now.

"It may almost feel like back to normal," Henry said."It is easy, sometimes...to lose sight of the fact that this pandemic is far from over. There continues to be no effective treatment and the virus will continue in our communities for many months to come.

"Part of the reason that we have so few cases in the province is because we have been doing our part to ensure that we are taking those measures to keep this virus from spreading quickly."

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix cautioned against complacency in B.C.

"People can forget the sacrifices they made and why, and they forget the actions they must continue to take to stop the spread or prevent a resurgence," Dix said.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers for Monday, June 15, with numbers from Friday June 12, the last reporting period, in brackets:

New cases: 36 (16)

Total: 2,745 (2,709)

Active cases: 182 (187)

Recovered: 2,395 (2,354)

Hospitalized:  13 (12)

Intensive care: 4 (3)

Deaths:  168 (168)

Confirmed cases by region:

Vancouver Coastal Health: 934

Fraser Health: 1,420

Island Health: 130

Interior Health: 195

Northern Health: 65

nbennett@biv.com

@nbennett_biv