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66 new COVID-19 cases reported in B.C., almost 200 patients fully recovered

Last Updated Mar 27, 2020 at 11:57 am PDT

FILE - Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry responds to questions during a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 6, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

66 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in B.C., no new deaths

186 patients have fully recovered from the virus in the province

An ethical framework is in place so no doctor has to make difficult decisions on their own

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Another 66 cases of coronavirus in B.C. have been reported by the provincial health officer Thursday.

However, Doctor Bonnie Henry said there have been no new deaths and 186 people have fully recovered.

There are still 26 people in the ICU because of the virus.

Of the nine out breaks at long-term care homes, two of the facilities have seen an increase in new cases. Lynn Valley Care Centre has seven new cases, while Haro Park has three.

While case numbers continue to rise, Henry said the only way to slow the spread is by taking physical distancing rules seriously.

A framework has developed from previous data in the SARS and Ebola outbreak to deal with the new coronavirus should it be needed, Henry explained. This applies to decision making, and Henry said doctors wouldn’t be alone in determining who lives and who would be left to die if the province were to see a rapid increase of people needing hospitalization.

“[The framework] does have a whole protocol on how we will manage this, so no single individual physician or clinician will have to make that decision on their own,” she said, adding protocols are being set up for ethical decision making at each hospital and at the provincial level.

In addition, Henry noted the importance of new guidelines to ensure a safe drug supply during the pandemic.

“These guidelines enable us to provide a safe supply for people and to ensure they’re able to comply with our public health advise around isolation or quarantine should that be required,” she said.

As for physical distancing in shelters, Henry said the focus remains on prevention and provisions must be made in the safest way possible.

The City of Vancouver will be offering additional housing at two community centres for homeless people.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said some recently retired health care workers have been returning to work to help during the pandemic. He also assured people in the province that there are 3903 hospital beds vacant, including 331 for critical care patients.

The death toll for B.C. remains at 14.

Dix said they will share worst-case scenario models and explaining how the province is preparing for such a situation on Friday.

With files from Marcella Bernardo