Coronavirus: B.C. confirms 66 new cases, no new deaths

British Columbia confirmed 66 new cases of the novel coronavirus Thursday, bringing the provincial total to 725.

The province has 66 COVID-19 patients in hospital, 26 of them in the ICU.

The number of deaths in the province remained unchanged at 14, and 186 people have fully recovered.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said she has now implemented a new order restricting health-care workers to a single facility.

“This includes long term care, assisted living, extended and acute care,” she said.

“We’ve had a patchwork system of care providers, health care workers of various different kinds who move between facilities, and that is one of the things that has facilitated outbreaks.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix said operators at 811 are now fielding more than 5,000 calls a day, and have lowered wait times to about five minutes.

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Earlier Thursday, B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth unveiled sweeping new measures under the province’s state of emergency due to COVID-19.

Those measures include banning the hoarding or reselling of essential goods such as food or medical supplies, and empowering bylaw officers to issue fines of up to $25,000 for people violating public health orders.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: More than 55 health-care workers infected as B.C. reports 14th death

In B.C., those orders include a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, the closure of bars, restaurants and personal service businesses and the requirement for people to keep two metres (six feet) apart in public.

B.C. also created a new supply chain unit to keep the flow of goods moving during the crisis.

On Wednesday, the province announced a freeze on evictions and rent, along with a $500 subsidy to renters facing financial hardship during the pandemic.

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