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B.C. confirms 40 new cases of COVID-19, for total of 271

There has also been one more death
Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the Thursday update. Screengrab.

There are now 271 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in B.C., after health officials announced 40 new cases Tuesday.  

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reports that there are 142 cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) region, 81 in the Fraser Health region, 22 on Vancouver Island Health and 12 in the Interior Health region and 1 in Northern Health. 

There has also been one more death. The individual is associated with the Lynn Valley Care Centre. 

There are currently 17 people in hospital and nine are in intensive care. Five continue to be on the recovered list. 

"I'm very heartened by some of the things that we've been seeing here across the province in people physically distancing but maintaining that so important social connection," Henry states. 

Henry added that people can still go outside and enjoy bike rides and walks, but that they must maintain a safe distance from others. 

Health Minister Adrian Dix adds that the MSP coverage wait period will be waived for people who are returning to B.C. from impacted areas.

"MSP beneficiaries who are out of province and are unable to return may also be provided with temporary coverage," he said.

A beneficiary may also use the personal heath number on an expired BC health services card, but they must show another piece of identification.

Dix also remarked that a number of British Columbians responded to the call for blood donors. 

"What we do today makes a difference. The actions we take today are important," he underscored.

"We need to do it until we are told to stop. That's the fight we're in." 

Earlier this week, Henry noted that people should consult the new online assesment tool if they aren't sure if they require further testing or assessment for COVID-19. She also underscored the importance of physical distancing, hand washing, covering your mouth if you cough, not touching your face and staying home if you are sick. 

Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth also declared a provincial state of emergency.

"What today's declaration allows for is a province-wide approach to backup the provincial health emergency declaration that was made yesterday by Dr. Bonnie Henry," said Farnworth. 

The announcement comes one day after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry declared a public health emergency amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

- With files from the Richmond News.

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