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COVID-19: Three new deaths in B.C., all in Lower Mainland

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (via Province of British Columbia)

There are three new deaths from COVID-19 in B.C. from 30 new cases.

All three deaths are residents at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver.

The total number of cases of the virus in the province is now 103, though no new cases were announced in the Interior Health region today.

Six of the current cases are now in hospital in acute care, while five have fully recovered.

"The situation is escalating around us and in B.C.," said Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province's top medical health officer.

"There are things we need to do now to protect our citizens."

The news comes moments after Canada shut its borders to most non-citizens and permanent residents.

Henry also announced that they are recommending restricting events of more than 50 people, down 250 from the previous recommendation. All casinos have also been ordered to close and surgeries have been cancelled.

Health Minister Adrian Dix once again implored people who are sick to stay at home.

"It's our civic responsibility to do so," said Dix.

Henry further sent out an appeal to anyone who attended a dental conference in Vancouver on March 6 and 7 to self-isolate after it emerged four to six cases have been identified from the event.

Both Dix and Henry expressed their concern that the federal government has stopped short of banning U.S. citizens from entering Canada.

"Some things are beyond our control," added Henry

"Border issues are a federal issue. We can try to influence them and we have made our concerns known.

"We have concerns about people coming to visit here (from the U.S.). We don't want them to come here.

"If they do come, we would require them to self-isolate for 14 days."

Dix said he has asked the federal government to halt all non-essential travel from the U.S.

"We are saying to people, don't come," added Dix.

— Alan Campbell, Richmond News