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Three new deaths, 30 additional cases of COVID-19 in B.C.

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Mar 16, 2020 at 8:59 pm PDT

FILE - Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, made further announcements regarding COVID-19 on Monday, March 16, 2020. (Courtesy B.C. government)

All three deaths were residents at the Lynn Valley Care Centre

The total recorded number of cases in the province is now 103

Hospitals are now cancelling all non-urgent surgeries.

(NEWS 1130)  – COVID-19 has claimed the lives of three more British Columbians, while 30 additional cases have been recorded in the province.

All three deaths were residents at the Lynn Valley Care Centre. This brings the provincial and national death toll to four – all related to the care centre in North Vancouver, where 12 new cases were reported on the weekend.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday the total recorded number of cases in the province is now 103, the vast majority of which are the result of people travelling abroad.

Of those, four are related to a recent dental conference in Vancouver, and anyone who attended is asked to now self-isolate.

“It has been a challenging weekend,” she said.

“The situation is escalating around us.”

The Fraser, Vancouver Coastal, Interior and Island health regions all have new COVID-19 cases.

B.C. Health Minster Adrian Dix said hospitals are now cancelling all non-urgent surgeries; they will undertake only urgent and emergency procedures.

Hospitals will review operating-room capacity daily to prioritize urgent and emergency cases.

Lions Gate Hospital, however, will only be handling emergency patients because there have been coronavirus cases there.

Lions Gate Hospital is also preparing to open a dedicated COVID-19 unit to provide care to those with the virus.

“These measures will assist hospitals to redeploy and train essential service health-care providers on critical care related to COVID-19 to ensure sufficient medical supplies for patients and staff who need them most, and to further increase capacity to respond to the potential for a surge of COVID-19 patients requiring acute care,” says a release from the province.

Dix said the province is also moving to acquire more beds for long-term care facilities, as well as restricting visitors in long-term care to essential visits only.

As for primary care, prescriptions will be refilled without a doctor’s note, while doctors will be compensated for online and over-the-phone care.

Furthermore, all gatherings with 50 or more people will be cancelled moving forward.

The province is also now consulting with the education ministry about closing schools going forward. A formal announcement is expected Tuesday.

The province further announced it is starting a dedicated phone service to provide British Columbians non-medical information about COVID-19 (1-888-COVID19), and ordered all casinos to close until further notice.

Of the total recorded cases of coronavirus in B.C., six people remain in acute care.

Meanwhile, five people who tested positive have now recovered.

The first death in Canada was a man in his 80s from the Lynn Valley Care Centre who died in hospital.