Dr. Bonnie Henry reveals 11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. on March 13, bringing provincial total to 64

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      There's a new cluster of COVID-19 cases at Lions Gate Hospital, according to the provincial health officer.

      In her daily briefing, Dr. Bonnie Henry said there were 11 new positive test results in the Vancouver Coastal Health Region, including three administrative staff at the North Shore acute-care facility.

      She didn't provide details about each individual but said the investigation is ongoing to understand where they contracted it.

      "They are not people who had patient contact," Henry said. "Measures have been taken at Lions Gate Hospital to ensure that everything can be done as safe as possible there."

      There's also another case linked to the Lynn Valley Care Centre—a close contact of one of the health workers who had already tested positive.

      Five of the new COVID-19 cases are related to travel from countries with higher rates of COVID-19.

      She mentioned that they were linked to Iran, a river tour in Egypt, the Philippines, and Mexico. She noted that the latter two countries are "more newly identified as having issues with transmission".

      Two other cases are still being investigated and Henry didn't have details.

      This brings the provincial total to 64 cases.

      Henry said that two of the previously diagnosed cases in hospital—with Health Minister Adrian Dix later saying in the briefing that they are in intensive care.

      Six of the 64 cases have recovered and the rest are in isolation at home.

      The provincial health officer pointed out that many schools are starting the March break as of today.

      "We know that the government of Canada has put a travel advisory that's very similar to ours—and the requirement for people to self-isolate on return," Henry said.

      She added that people who are involved in the movement of goods and people across our international borders have been deemed "essential".

      This means that long-haul truckers, flight crews, and people who transport goods are exempt from having to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to Canada. 

      "They need to be supported—to check themselves daily for symptoms when they come back—and stay away from others and stay away from mass gatherings during that period of time," she said.

      Henry emphasized that the provincial government is "not talking about shutting down society here".

      "It's still very safe today in B.C.—all across B.C.—to go out, to go shopping, to go to restaurants," Henry declared. "In particular, we have a lot of things that we can do outdoors, which are very safe things to do. This virus does not transmit when people are outdoors. So go outside and play with your family. Go up to our ski hills. Go up to Whistler. Go out and experience what we have there in British Columbia right now."

      Yesterday, the province banned public gatherings of more than 250 people.

      Today, Henry said that she will issue a provincial health officer order to make that mandatory.

      "I understand from the investigation that we've done into this is that that allows people to trigger insurance and other things for events that have to be cancelled because of this direction."

      She said that the reason for this is to slow the spread of the virus in B.C. to buy time to protect people who are more likely to have severe illness or die from COVID-19.

      According to Henry and Dix, 6,326 people were tested in B.C. by today. And there were more than 10,000 callers to the provincial 811 information line over the past three days.

      Worldwide, there are 145,267 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 5,413 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.