Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urged British Columbians to stay the course in the effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic as she reported encouraging numbers on Tuesday.
For the first time since May 11, no deaths were recorded while the running count of confirmed cases grew by just 11 and the number of recoveries increased by 20, leaving 258 active cases across the province. Of those, 37 are in hospital and seven of those are in critical care.
No new cases were reported in Northern Health, leaving the total for the region at 62. As of Monday, there were just three active cases with one of them in critical care. No deaths from the virus have been recorded in the region.
"Today, we were able to report no new deaths for the first time in quite a few weeks and we want to be able to do this every day so no more families have to deal with the loss of someone they love," Henry said during her daily briefing.
"So I encourage everyone to continue to show patience and understanding and have confidence that what we are doing is the best that we can to protect families and our communities. This means it [lifting of restrictions] might be slower than many people want, and it might be faster than others [want].
"We know, as well, that COVID-19 is in all of our communities. We've talked about the people who have tested positive but there are also the close contacts that we continue to monitor in public health and right now our focus in on ensuring that every case that arises in our community, we can follow, we can test, we can trace the people they've been in contact with and we can track those people over the period of the incubation to make sure that if they do develop symptoms, they have access to the health care they need."
Summer camps in which youth stay at the camp overnight will be out of the question, Henry confirmed.
"We will be encouraging people to focus on day camps," she said. "There is not a situation that we can see this summer where overnight for school-age kids can be done in a way that would prevent transmission of this virus."
Henry cited the fact that many of the camps are located in remote areas which could pose challenges in terms of accessing proper health care as a reason for shutting them down. Additionally, she said the campers could be coming from abroad and pose an adverse effect on small communities in their area.
"So overnight camps for school age children will not be something that will be happening this summer in B.C."