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COVID-19: Three new coronavirus deaths in B.C.

Province restricts public gatherings to less than 50 people as case total tops 100
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s top medical health officer, broke the sad news Monday morning. Screenshot.

THERE ARE THREE new deaths from coronavirus (COVID-19) in B.C., as well as 30 new cases.

All three deaths are residents at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver, where an elderly man recently died from the coronavirus.

The total number of cases of the virus in the province is now 103.

Six of the current cases are now in hospital in acute care, while five have fully recovered.

"The situation is escalating around us and in B.C.," said Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province's top medical health officer.

"There are things we need to do now to protect our citizens."

In a release late on March 15, Vancouver Coastal Health acknowledged that there are "cases of COVID-19 in coastal rural communities," which includes Whistler, Squamish, Pemberton, Sechelt and Powell River.

"To protect patient confidentiality and because the situation is changing on a daily basis, we will not be sharing the number of people in the community who received a positive test result," the release said.

The March 16 provincial update came moments after Canada shut its borders to most non-citizens and permanent residents.

Henry also announced that they are restricting events with more than 50 people, down 200 from the previous order.

Health Minister Adrian Dix once again implored people who are sick to stay at home.

"It's our civic responsibility to do so," said Dix.

Henry further sent out an appeal to anyone who attended a dental conference in Vancouver on March 6 and 7 to self-isolate after it emerged four to six cases have been identified from the event.

Both Dix and Henry expressed their concern that the federal government has stopped short of banning U.S. citizens from entering Canada.

"Some things are beyond our control," added Henry

"Border issues are a federal issue. We can try to influence them and we have made our concerns known.

"We have concerns about people coming to visit here (from the U.S.). We don't want them to come here.

"If they do come, we would require them to self-isolate for 14 days."

Dix said he has asked the federal government to halt all non-essential travel from the U.S.

"We are saying to people, don't come," added Dix.

-with files from Braden Dupuis