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Northern Health adds one new COVID-19 case, B.C. total now 1,013

507 people have recovered

There are now 1,013 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in B.C., after health officials announced 43 new cases today (March 31).

Northern Health now has a total of 15 COVID-19 cases as Dr. Bonnie Henry announcing there was one more positive test in the authority. 

There are 476 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), 348 in Fraser Health, 67 on Vancouver Island and 107 in Interior Health. 

There are now 19 long-term care homes that have had a patient or staff person test positive. Henry adds that extra precautions have been put into place for long-term care facilities to prevent further spread.  

There are currently 128 people in acute care in hospital, and 61 are in intensive care.  

Henry added there were five new deaths from the virus which brings the total in B.C. to 24, but noted 507 cases have recovered.

Henry notes that more people are going into ICUs, and critical care teams have recognized that putting a ventilator on a COVID-19 patient earlier means that they often stay in hospital for less time and recover quickly. As such, she notes that the criteria for putting a patient on a ventilator has expanded to include more people.

Henry notes that this means that most people, particularly who are young and have mild illness, are recovering from this virus at home. However, she underscored that we are not past the peak of the pandemic. 

"We are still testing around the province," she says. "This is our critical time - these next two weeks."

"No one is immune to this virus, but everyone can make a difference."

Henry adds that anyone is older and at-risk should, "please stay home, and we will support you."

Health Minister Adrian Dix added that paramedics are responding to more calls related to "influenza-like" symptoms.

Dix underscored that the contribution of health care workers during this pandemic will never be forgotten in B.C.

During last week's briefing, Henry stated that the province is moving the focus on testing to identify cases where the source is unknown, such as in community spread. 

For anyone who comes into the country and falls ill, Henry recommends that they stay home rather than risk infecting someone else.

Of course, if their symptoms are severe they should still seek medical attention.

"We know the source of infection for anyone coming from outside of Canada," notes Henry. "We assume they have the virus and ask them to self-isolate for 14 days."

"We don't need them to come in for testing."

Henry also reinforced the importance of social distancing while still remaining relationships via technology. 

Last week, Henry noted that people should consult the new online assessment tool if they aren't sure if they require further testing or assessment for COVID-19.

She also underscored the importance of physical distancing, hand washing, covering your mouth if you cough, not touching your face and staying home if you are sick.

- with files from Elana Shepert, Vancouver Is Awesome