Confirmed COVID cases rise to five in Northern Health

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has announced 48 new case of COVID-19 in B.C. since the last update on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases to 472.

There are now 39 cases on Vancouver Island, 248 in the Vancouver Coast Health Authority, 150 in Fraser Health, 30 in Interior Health and five in Northern Health.

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There have been three additional deaths over the past two days, bringing the total to 13.

"We are very saddened, of course, by the passing of these people," Henry said in announcing the latest deaths.

She said of the three deaths, two were connected to long-term care facilities in Metro Vancouver at the Lynn Valley Care Centre and Haro Park, with the third person being a resident in the Fraser Health region.

There are 33 people are in hospital, and 14 of those are in intensive care units.

Henry said 100 people have recovered and can be released from isolation.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said B.C.'s recent move to cancel elective and scheduled surgeries has increased the number of beds available at B.C. hospitals in anticipation of "things about to come."

He said hospital bed capacity in B.C. regularly measures just above 100 per cent, but in the past week the capacity dropped to 68.6 per cent, with 3,632 available beds.

"We are preparing for the circumstances that are before us," Dix said. "We are preparing for the weeks that are to come."

Henry said she senses people in B.C. have grasped the necessity of following her recent orders to stay home if sick, self-isolate for 14 days if recently travelled and to practise physical distancing from others when outside.

She said she never imagined in her 30 years in public health that she would close schools and order people to keep their distance from each other.

"We're seeing people come to that recognition and there's been a transition over this past week," she said. "Just reflect on the monumental changes that we have asked society to do."

- With files from The Canadian Press

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