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B.C. records first COVID-19 death in a week

B.C. has now lost 168 residents to the virus that has caused a global pandemic
B.C.'s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry addressed media earlier this week

B.C. on June 12 recorded its first death from COVID-19 since June 5, the government has announced.

No information about the person has been released other than he or she was in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. 

While the province has been successful in flattening the curve of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths, it is proving to be a challenge to stamp out COVID-19 infections entirely.

There were 16 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the past 24 hours, for a total of 2,709 in the province since the virus first appeared in late January.

The latest breakdown of all COVID-19 infections by health region is:
• 922 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• 1,396 in Fraser Health;
• 130 in Island Health;
• 196 in Interior Health; and
• 65 in Northern Health.

That count includes a correction in the count in Northern Health, where previously it was reported that there had been 66 cases of infected individuals. 

There are 187 people currently fighting COVID-19 infections, up four from yesterday, with 12 people in hospital, including three in intensive care units. The remaining people are self-isolating at home.

Nearly 87%, or 2,354 people, have recovered from their infections.

"There have been no new health-care facility outbreaks. In total, five long-term care or assisted-living facilities continue to have active outbreaks," said B.C. provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix in a joint statement. 

Those facilities include:
• Vancouver's Holy Family Hospital;
• Vancouver's South Granville Park Lodge;
• Port Coquitlam's Nicola Lodge;
• Langley's Langley Lodge; and
• Abbotsford's Valhaven Home.

"There have been no new community outbreaks and public health teams continue to provide support for the six ongoing community outbreaks," Henry and Dix said.

"We have been monitoring our COVID-19 restart activities closely and are modifying our approach as we move forward. This includes amending the provincial health officer's order for food and liquor service establishments to make restaurants and pubs safer for employees and patrons."

Henry and Dix first announced that modification yesterday.

The amended order on restaurant operations enables eateries to operate at more than 50% capacity. The businesses can operate with as many people as they can hold as long as they can either keep people in different parties two meters apart, or have impermeable shields between tables. 

The new rule is that restaurant owners must calculate a number for the most people who they can safely accommodate and put that number into their safety plans.

Henry and Dix's rationale for the change is that municipalities are increasingly making it easier and faster for restaurant owners to expand or create new patios, often on public property. Those patios add various numbers of extra seats and therefore could substantially alter how many people a restaurant owner can safely serve.

The City of Vancouver on June 12 revealed that it has approved 47 new patios as part of its expedited temporary-patio-permit program, which has been in place since June 1.