Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives an update on the coronavirus pandemic as Health Minister Adrian Dix keeps the recommended distance to avoid transmission, B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (B.C. government)

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives an update on the coronavirus pandemic as Health Minister Adrian Dix keeps the recommended distance to avoid transmission, B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (B.C. government)

66 new B.C. cases of COVID-19, up to 725 positive tests so far

186 people have now recovered, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. has 66 additional positive tests for the new coronavirus COVID-19 in the 24 hours up to March 26, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

Regional totals are 359 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 241 in Fraser Health, 52 in Island Health, 62 in Interior Health and 11 in Northern Health. Outbreaks in nine B.C. long-term care homes continue to be worked on, and there are no new deaths.

Of the 725 cases, 66 people are in hospital, 26 of them in intensive care, and 186 people have recovered and and been cleared by testing. That’s two additional hospitalizations since March 25.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the B.C. health care system has now cleared more than 3,900 beds, 371 of them critical care beds, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise daily in the province and across Canada.

“This will be a difficult time, one of the most difficult we’ve seen in this province,” Dix said, urging everyone to follow Henry’s public health directives to avoid gatherings and restrict outings to necessary trips only.

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On the positive side, Dix said call handling at the 8-1-1 HealthLink line has greatly improved, with more than 5,000 calls handled in one day for the first time. The 8-1-1 line provides nurses and “case navigators” to help people determine if they have contracted COVID-19 and a variety of other health concerns.

“The average wait time was 5.3 minutes, which reflects both the extraordinary number of new staff and the commitment of those staff that we’ve seen at 8-1-1,” Dix said. “This is enormously helpful to people as they deal with both the anxiety around COVID-19 and the reality of feeling sick in B.C. at a difficult time.”


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tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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