4 more COVID-19 deaths in B.C., bringing death toll to 43

4 more COVID-19 deaths in B.C., bringing death toll to 43
Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a daily update on COVID-19 on March 18, 2020.

B.C. health officials have announced four more COVID-19 deaths in the province and also say hospitalizations due to the coronavirus have gone down.

There were three deaths related to COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and one in the Fraser Health region over the last 24 hours. The COVID-19 death toll in the province is now at 43.

However, hospitalizations are down from 140 on Monday to 138 on Tuesday. ICU admissions from COVID-19 have also dropped from 72 on Monday to 66 on Tuesday. Of those hospitalizations, 11 are in the Island Health region.

As of April 7, 2020, there have been 25 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the provincial total to 1,291. There are 603 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 458 in Fraser Health, 79 in Island Health (no change from April 6), 128 in Interior Health and 23 in Northern Health.

There are no new cases at long-term care homes or prisons in B.C. There are 21 long-term cases with confirmed COVID-19 cases with 132 residents testing positive and 81 staff members.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said even though there are official religious occastions this month (major religious occasions including Easter, Passover, Ramadan and Vaisakhi), now is not the time to visit summer homes, cabins or smaller communities who don’t have the resources to support large outbreaks.

She also advised against small groups indoors and said she is happy many faith leaders are opting for virtual celebrations.

“Please, now is the time to pay attention to our seniors and our elders,” Henry said. “We protect them by connecting safely from a distance.”

“Please, now is the time to pay attention to our seniors and our elders,” Henry said. “We protect them by connecting safely from a distance.”

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix noted the great weather in the forecast for the weekend but reiterated the long weekend is not the time to travel.

“We need to double down,” Dix said, adding there is some evidence that the province is flattening the curve with physical distancing. Numbers are not growing as fast compared to Ontario or Quebec.

“Let’s bend the curve, not bend the rules this weekend.”

Meanwhile, the federal government is stepping up efforts to produce ventilators, face masks and surgical gowns in Canada, while it continues to try to get millions of pieces of equipment ordered from international suppliers actually shipped to Canada.

That includes an order of 500,000 N95 respirator masks from Minnesota-based 3M, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said should arrive in Canada Wednesday, while acknowledging the duel with U.S. President Donald Trump over medical supplies is not entirely over.

“We continue to work with Americans,” Trudeau said in his daily briefing to Canadians outside his Ottawa home Tuesday.

“As I’ve said, we’ve had constructive and productive conversations that have assured that this particular shipment comes through but we recognize there is still more work to do,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland later added that there are more shipments expected from 3M and all of them should arrive as expected, but that there are orders with other U.S. suppliers that have not been given clearance to be exported yet.

Canada’s main argument to the United States is that they are reliant on raw materials, manufactured goods and health care professionals from Canada, and that both countries will do better if neither blocks those supplies or people from crossing the border.

Watch the B.C. April 7, 2020, news conference below.

To see case counts and the epidemic curve, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website. 

With files from The Canadian Press


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