Newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases were back to double digits in B.C. on Wednesday, as the province reported three new deaths and 21 new cases of the novel coronavirus.

B.C. had been recording smaller numbers of COVID-19, such as just two new cases the day before, which is the lowest single-day total since March 6.

Despite that, health officials said in a joint statement that the province now has 2,467 total cases and that more than 81 per cent of them have recovered.

Two of the three deaths reported Wednesday were residents of long-term care homes. B.C. has now recorded 149 deaths from COVID-19.

Of the remaining 317 active cases, 43 were in hospital Wendesday and 10 of them in intensive care.

Officials also confirmed a new outbreak at The Cedars in Mission, an assisted-living facility, while two outbreaks at the Ridge Meadows Hospital were both declared over.

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Wednesday’s statement also addressed a new recommendation from Canada’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam that people wear non-medical masks whenever they are unable to maintain physical distancing in public.

“When it is difficult to keep a safe physical distance for an extended period of time — for example, when you are on transit — this is a good way for you to protect those around you,” reads the statement.

“We have to remember that face coverings keep our droplets in and don’t prevent transmission from others. The best ways for us to stay safe is to wash our hands, maintain a safe physical distance from others and keep our ‘rules’ for social interactions top of mind.”

With the province now in Phase 2 of its pandemic restart plan, officials are carefully monitoring COVID-19 tests with a particular eye for new cases that are not linked to known outbreak clusters.

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