The number of British Columbians having contacted COVID-19 has jumped by 66 bringing the provincial total of positive cases up to 725.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday 62 of those cases are in the Interior Health Authority and 11 in Northern Health.

“Of our 725 cases, we now have 66 people in hospital and of those 26 are in the investive care unit and 186 people are fully recovered,” Henry said. “We have no new deaths today thankfully.”

Henry said they have issued new prescriber guidelines to support people who use drugs and have issues with substance use disorder or addiction.

“And this is particularly to support people in places like the downtown eastside who may be affected by COVID-19, and so these guidelines are to enable us to provide a safe supply for people and to assure that they are able to comply with our public health advice around isolation or quarantine should that be required.”

Henry said in addition she has made two additional orders under the Public Health Act in B.C.

One enables health sector workers at all public and private facilities to remain at one facility only for the duration of the pandemic including long-term care, assisted living, extended, and acute care. The other are a number of enhanced provisions that were announced Thursday morning by Socilitor General and Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth that have defined ‘essential work‘ for the province.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said B.C. currently has 3,903 total beds vacant in the acute care system and that current occupancy is 63.3 percent overall. He added that the current occupancy of critical care beds is 54.8 percent with a vacancy of 371.

“We now have more registrants in BC, people who have come back and registered as doctors and nurses-26 doctors and 248 nurses,” Dix said. “And as well we have many care aides who have joined and rejoined in support of healthcare facilities in B.C., and all I can say is how much we appreciate how much that demonstrates our shared commitment and the extraordinary commitment of all healthcare workers to the care of people in BC.”

Dix and Henry will be providing a briefing on Friday morning on modeling including what can be anticipated in B.C. as well as worst-case scenarios in comparison to such places like Hubei and Italy.