B.C. reports no COVID-19 deaths, 11 new cases as restart enters second week


VICTORIA - British Columbia didn't report any new deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, but there have been 11 additional cases of the virus.

"I'm extremely pleased that today for the first time in a while we've had no new deaths from COVID-19 in B.C.," provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told a news conference.

Heath Minister Adrian Dix said he was "grateful" there were no COVID-19 deaths to report.

"We're obviously pleased there are no new deaths to report today and only 11 new cases," he said.

The Health Ministry said the last day no COVID-19 deaths were reported in B.C. was on April 17.

Henry said a total of 2,541 people in B.C. have now been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 2,122 have recovered. There have been 161 deaths.

Henry urged people to continue their approaches to protecting themselves from COVID-19 as B.C. entered the second week of its economic restart plan and more activities resume.

Many B.C. businesses, including restaurants, hair salons and dentists' offices, started reopening last week.

Henry said B.C. may see an increase in the numbers of COVID-19 cases as the province continues to restart more activities.

But she said if people continue to practise physical distancing, frequent hand washing and staying home if sick, the restart phase will continue to move ahead at a safe pace.

"Small numbers and knowing who you are with helps us make sure that we can continue that public health activity to keep our community safe," she said. "We need to keep within our limits and keep up with what we know works."

Henry said the restart phase may cause anxiety and frustration among people but she urged calm.

"We all have a role to play and we've seen what can be successful here in B.C.," she said.

Henry said she was pleased Vancouver is being considered as a possible hub city for the National Hockey League if play resumes soon. But B.C. is not prepared to loosen health restrictions to allow players and team officials to bypass rules when it comes to borders and quarantines, she said.

"I would love to have hockey but we have been very clear and the premier has been very clear that we're not bending the rules in any way that would put what we have achieved here in B.C. at risk," said Henry.

She said she is prepared to look at the NHL's plans if Vancouver is chosen as a hub site.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2020.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said B.C. had a total of 2,542 cases of COVID-19.