The following is an overview of this morning’s conference in BC

Dr. Bonnie Henry.

There are 30 additional cases (including on Vancouver Island) for a total of 103 cases in BC. BC has about 7,000 beds in total. Six are in hospital, everyone else is being managed at home. Five are fully recovered. There have been three additional deaths, all residents of the Lynn Valley Care Centre.

Many of the new infections are connected to a dental conference, of about 15,000 in Vancouver.

Public school management is still under discussion.

Anyone coming in from outside of BC, it is critical to self-isolate for 14 days. Symptoms tend to show at around days 5, 6, or 7. Most are already doing this.

Additional measures:

  • Cancel all gatherings greater than 50 people
  • Close all casinos province-wide effective 11:50 pm today

Hospitals will be preparing for an influx. Scheduled elective surgeries will be cancelled and/or postponed.

Senior homes will be more carefully guarded, increasingly isolated.

This is not forever. It is important for now. This is a very challenging time for all of us.

This is what we need to do now to keep our community safe.

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health

Encourages foreigners not to come to BC, though they both acknowledge that border control is a federal matter.

Fundamental changes to BC acute care system, so be ready for a changing situation

All hospitals are at Outbreak Response Phase 2, meaning they will undertake only urgent surgeries. This will free up hundreds of hospital beds. Lions Gate is at Phase 3, meaning they will only accept critical patients. There will be a re-allocation of staff to maximize resources and staffing. There will be more cases.

  • Pharmacists will refill prescriptions without requiring a doctor’s note.
  • Physicians will be compensated for providing virtual care, online.
  • Essential visitors only at hospitals.
  • Schools are currently closed for March break, with more announcements coming on this tomorrow.

More important than the pandemic is how we respond to it. Wash hands, don’t touch your face, throw away Kleenexes, and isolate yourself if you are sick. That is your duty to other British Columbians. We need to slow the spread of COVID-19.