Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:
"Today, we are announcing 11 new cases, for a total of 2,573 cases in British Columbia.
"There are 228 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 2,181 people who tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered.
"Of the total COVID-19 cases, 35 individuals are hospitalized, five of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
"Every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 902 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,285 in the Fraser Health region, 127 in the Island Health region, 195 in the Interior Health region and 64 in the Northern Health region.
"There have been no new COVID-19 related deaths in the last day, for a total of 164 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"There have been no new health-care outbreaks and two outbreaks have been declared over at Haro Park and at Evergreen House. In total, 13 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and one acute-care unit have active outbreaks.
"Public health teams continue to provide support for the community outbreaks at federal corrections facilities, food processing facilities, in the poultry sector, and for individuals connected to the Kearl Lake plant in Alberta.
"On Monday, our K-12 schools will re-open to in-class learning for the remainder of the school year. We are ready for this and are re-opening schools because it is safe to do so.
"We have learned a lot about COVID-19 - where the greatest risks are, and the measures we can take to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
"We know that COVID-19 has a very low infection rate in children, and children have milder symptoms. We also know that transmission in children, and between adults and children mostly occurs in household settings, not in schools, or playgrounds.
"We have purposely timed the re-opening for two weeks after the start of phase two to make sure we could proceed safely. Had there been a significant increase in new cases, schools would not be opening.
"Restarting in-class instruction now is a cautious approach that gives teachers and other education staff the tools and experience to prepare for the larger return to school in the fall, while supporting those children and families who need it.
"Much thought and consideration has gone into this decision; to provide the best protection to everyone in our schools - students, teachers, learning assistants, and administrators.
"This is the right time to make this happen, and precautions and safety measures are in place.
"While we are proceeding with the re-opening of in-class learning, as we look ahead to the summer months, a new Provincial Health Officer order has been put in place restricting the operation of overnight camps for children and youth. Such camps often have large numbers of people, making safe physical distancing a challenge.
"We must remember that large gatherings are a significant risk for transmission. This is because someone can be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms, and data has shown us that the more people you are around, the higher the likelihood that someone has COVID-19.
"Inside or outside, a family get-together, a workplace meeting or religious service - the risk of transmission increases the larger the gathering.
"Let's not put at risk the sacrifice of so many and undo the progress we have made so far. To keep COVID-19 at bay we need to stay slow and low, moving slowly with thoughtful consideration and keeping our curve flat."
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