Only 8 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., as outbreak at Lynn Valley Care Centre declared over

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported only eight new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., as well as four additional deaths, in her daily update on the province’s response to the pandemic.

The outbreak was also declared over at a North Vancouver long-term care home where the first cases were reported on March 7 and became a turning point in the spread of the virus in British Columbia.

There are now 2,232 confirmed cases of the disease in B.C. About 66 per cent, or 1,472 cases, have fully recovered. The death toll stands at 121.

The number of new cases is the lowest total since March 13.

Seventy-eight COVID-19 patients are in hospital — an increase of one patient from Monday — while 21 patients remain in intensive care.

Earlier in the day, Vancouver Coastal Health confirmed the outbreak at Lynn Valley Care Centre has ended. The cluster was linked to 76 confirmed cases among residents and staff as well as 20 deaths, including Canada’s first known COVID-19 fatality.

Henry reminded British Columbians to remain vigilant as the province starts to slowly ease restrictions, saying moving too quickly could undo all the progress that has been made to flatten the curve.

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She reiterated the importance of frequent hand-washing, covering your mouth when coughing, and avoiding others at the slightest sign of illness.

Physical distancing will also remain critical, she said.

“Few faces in big spaces is what we need to think about…Outside is always preferred over inside.”

As for indoor spaces, she said things like plexiglass barriers, face masks, and small groups are also key to reduce risk.

When asked about provinces such as Alberta using contact-tracing apps to help contain the disease, Henry said “everyone and their dog has an app out right now,” and that B.C. is working with other jurisdictions on such technology.

On Monday, Henry said the most recent figures continue to show dramatic decreases in cases since physical distancing and other measures were introduced in March to slow the spread of the virus, but that the illness continues to primarily impact people 60 years of age and older, especially men in their 90s.

If B.C. can continue to keep social interactions at around 35-40 per cent of normal, Henry said, we will stop recording new cases by the middle of June.

— With files from Richard Zussman and The Canadian Press

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