24 days and counting: No new COVID-19 cases in Northern Health

Northern B.C.'s winning streak against the COVID-19 virus entered its 24th day on Thursday as once again no new cases were reported for the region.

For the rest of the province, 24 new cases emerged over the past two days, offset by 16 recoveries to put the number of active cases at 160. Of that, 17 are hospitalized, two of whom are in intensive care.

There were three new COVID-19 related deaths, two in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and one in the Fraser Health region, pushing the running total to 177. No deaths have been recorded in Northern Health.

On the plus side, there were no new outbreaks in healthcare facilities and no new community outbreaks.

In a joint statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix urged patience as long-term care homes work to put safety measures in place as restrictions on visits are eased.

"Once we see the plans and processes are working, we can further increase and expand activities in long-term care homes and assisted-living facilities," Henry and Dix said.

"With each day we keep our curve flat, we can take confidence in knowing the people we care about the most are staying safe."

They also urged British Columbians to continue good practices to keep the virus at bay. They include physical distancing, wearing masks in close quarters and washing hands regularly.

They also reminded travellers that anyone coming from outside Canada must self-isolate for 14 days.

"There can be no half measures or exceptions when it comes to COVID-19. It requires ongoing monitoring, modifying our activities as needed and actively managing any new cases that emerge."

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