What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on May 23, 2020

THE LATEST:

  • 10 new cases of COVID-19 were announced Saturday afternoon. 
  • There were two new deaths in the last 24 hours, both at long-term care homes.
  • There have been 2,517 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province. 
  • Of those who have tested positive, 2,057 people have recovered.
  • As of Saturday, there are 303 active cases in B.C. 
  • 157 people have died of the illness.
  • There are 39 patients in hospital, including eight in intensive care.

Small signs of normal life are starting to return to B.C. as the province enters the second stage of its pandemic response.

Some restaurants and hair salons have opened in the past week under strict new guidelines about physical distancing and hygiene, while more health-care services are becoming available.

Among the first to see their hair stylist was Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, who said Saturday during a press briefing that she had her hair done recently while following all the health guidelines, including wearing a mask. 

Henry said she has been pleased so far to see people visiting local businesses, including restaurants, while maintaining physical distance. 

"I thought it was really exciting. I was out for a walk last night and people were following the rules. I think things are going mostly really well," she said. 

As of Saturday, there have been 2,517 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 157 deaths. A total of 2,057 people have recovered from their illnesses, bringing the number of active cases to 303.

There are now 39 COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals, including eight in intensive care.

Henry said that during the earliest days of B.C.'s contact tracing, a few infected people interacted closely with up to hundred people — or more. Since physical distancing measures were introduced, the average number of contacts came down from between six and eight, to three.

"In public health it gives us that fighting chance to find people quickly, in case they need health care, before they transmit it to someone else," she said. 

Henry said that "several hundreds" of people are currently working as contact tracers in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions, with fewer in the less populated regions.

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Important reminders:

Health officials widely agree the most important thing you can do to prevent coronavirus and other illnesses is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. 

The World Health Organization said more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 infections are estimated to be mild.

What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 4 p.m. PT on Saturday, Canada had 83,621 confirmed coronavirus cases. A CBC News tally of deaths attributed to coronavirus based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC's journalism stood at 6,342.

The numbers are not a complete picture, as they don't account for people who haven't been tested, those being investigated as a potential case and people still waiting for test results. 

For a look at what's happening across the country and the world, check the CBC interactive case tracker.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Stay home. Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority or 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

Find information about COVID-19 from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Non-medical information about COVID-19 is available in B.C. from 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. PT, seven days a week at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
  • Keep at least two metres away from people who are sick.
  • When outside the home, keep two metres away from other people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca