North continues COVID-19 free, state of emergency extended

Northern B.C. continued to have no new or active cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

In a joint statement issued by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, they announced 12 new cases in the province – including one which was epidemiologically-linked to previous cases, but wasn't tested at the time they were ill.

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The total number of cases in B.C. since the beginning of the pandemic rose to 2,990, while the number in the north remained at 65. The last new case of COVID-19 in the north was reported on June 8, despite roughly 50 to 120 tests being done in the region per day, according to data reported by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

"There are 162 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 2,645 people who tested positive have recovered," the joint statement said. "Of the total COVID-19 cases, 16 individuals are hospitalized, four of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation."

There were no additional COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday, leaving the province's death toll from the pandemic at 183. No deaths in the Northern Health region have been linked to the pandemic.

"There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks and the outbreak at Tabor Home has now been declared over. In total, two long-term care or assisted-living facilities and one acute care facility have active outbreaks," the statement said. 

There was a new "community exposure event" at the Hotel Belmont bar and nightclub in Vancouver, the statement said. Public health officials are warning anyone who was at hotel bar and nightclub on June 27 and June 29 to get tested for COVID-19.

"It is important to remember that the more people you see and the more places you go, the higher the likelihood is that you'll come into contact with someone with COVID-19," the statement said. "To protect yourself, the best things you can do are to keep the number of people you see to a minimum and as much as possible, maintain a safe distance from others and use a mask when that is challenging. Regardless of your age, we know that COVID-19 can cause severe and serious illness. Until effective treatment or a vaccine is available, we all need to stay vigilant."

Also on Tuesday, the B.C. government extended the provincial state of emergency until July 21 at midnight to allow the province's emergency measures in place to respond to the pandemic to continue.

"We're starting to see some restrictions lifting, but there are measures we need to keep in place to continue battling COVID-19," Premier John Horgan said in a press release. "We will continue to take the necessary steps to make sure British Columbians are safe and that the most vulnerable people are protected, while experts work to find a treatment or vaccine."

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