VCH adds new protections to long-term care residents due to COVID-19

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The announcement from Dr. Bonnie Henry brings the total of confirmed cases of the virus to 37 in the Island Health region and 424 overall in the province.

"We know hundreds of people have been safely cared for by our health care worker teams here in Vancouver, here in BC, here in Canada over the last few months", she said.

Six people have now fully recovered from the virus in BC.

Personal service establishments have been ordered to close, Henry said "as these require direct personal contact with people, and that is impossible to deliver while maintaining appropriate distance".

When asked about construction sites, Henry said some construction projects may be considered essential and are taking the appropriate measures.

Stewart also requested more provincial support for front-line workers working with vulnerable populations in Vancouver and those in need of rent relief, in addition to a province-wide eviction ban.

Among the infected so far have been two dozen health care workers, Henry said, noting that their symptoms have been mild and none have had severe illness, although some have been very briefly hospitalized. The reason for issuing the orders, she said, is that she has been made aware of some organizations that were continuing to operate.

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Other businesses can stay open, said Henry, as long as they can maintain proper social distancing.

Minister of Health Adrian Dix echoed Henry's message about supporting health workers, emphasizing that limiting the spread of the virus now will reduce the strain on the health system in the coming weeks.

"We need to go outside with our close family, in small groups", she said, adding that means no basketball games, or sitting together in large groups on the beach watching the sunset.

Many salons and spas have already closed, Henry said, but the order encompasses any that were still operating.

At all levels of government today, the response to questions about whether shelter in place orders are needed in Canadian jurisdictions was that at this time they are unnecessary, but that nothing is being taken off the table.

Dix says people must be comitted to the fight against COVID-19 and doing it together will make for a stronger community.

"We will track down and punish anyone caught misappropriating - the better word is stealing - the supplies we need for your protection", he said.

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