British Columbia health officials have announced 53 new test-positive coronavirus cases and another three deaths as a result of COVID-19 over the weekend.
At an afternoon press conference on Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there were 34 cases between Saturday and Sunday.
There were 19 cases recorded in the past 24 hours.
The total number of recorded cases in the province now sits at 2,224.
Broken down by health region, there are 845 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,027 in Fraser Health, 124 on Vancouver Island, 177 in Interior Health, and 51 in Northern Health.
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Henry says all three of the weekend’s deaths took place in longterm care facilities. There have now been 117 COVID-19 related deaths in BC.
Out of the total number of cases, 77 people are in hospital, 20 are in ICU.
A total of 1, 417 people are now considered fully recovered.
Epidemiological modelling update
Dr. Henry and Minister Dix also provided an update on the province’s epidemiological modelling on Monday afternoon.
Henry said control measures that were implemented in mid-March, such as physical distancing, have helped bring down the number of new cases, despite other outbreaks, and clusters.
She said in the coming weeks and months, a new challenge will be finding a healthy balance while restricting the transmission of coronavirus.
“Our challenge and our work together is to find that sweet spot,” she said. “Somewhere around increasing our contacts by at least half or twice as many as we have now, but without allowing those opportunities for the rapid and exponential growth of the virus.”
“That is what we’re basing our goals on going forward. We must find that right balance.”
Other challenges include meeting the physical and mental struggles that come with restricting physical and social interaction. There’s also the obstacle of rebuilding the economy while ensuring that people can safely return to work.
“We know that our mental health, our economic health, affects our overall health and our population as well,” Henry adds. “We need to rebuild our resilient economy and provide supports for people, so they can safely return to work,” she said.
“We need to do that now in a controlled way, a safe way, and a managed way.”
Henry added that BC appears to be starting a new phase when it comes to the pandemic.
“So this is I believe the end of our beginning of this pandemic,” she said. “We do not yet know what’s going to happen but we know that we have some room to increase our social connections, to increase our work, to increase our school and daycare and childcare. But as we start this new phase we need to keep those principles in mind. They are the playbook for us to follow.”
Henry and Dix will join Premier John Horgan for an update on the province’s next steps regarding the pandemic on Wednesday.