B.C. reports 3 deaths due to COVID-19, new cases on Vancouver Island

B.C. reports 3 deaths due to COVID-19, new cases on Vancouver Island
(Ben Nelms/CBC)
Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry continue to provide daily updates on COVID-19 in B.C.

Provincial health officials say three people have died COVID-19 in B.C. in the past 24 hours, bringing the province’s overall death toll to 81.

During an update on Saturday afternoon, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, also said there were 29 new cases of the virus, including three new cases on Vancouver Island.

The provincial total now stands at 1,647 cases, with 86 cases reported in Vancouver Coastal Health, 680 in Fraser Health, 97 in Island Health, 150 in Interior Health and 34 in Northern Health.

There are 20 long-term care facilities experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19 in B.C.

A total of 987 people in B.C. have recovered from the virus and there are 115 people currently hospitalized because of COVID-19, with 54 in ICU.

Henry, again, urged people to wash their hands frequently, cover their mouth when they cough and stay away from other people. She said while B.C. has made “considerable progress” lately, there is still a long way to go.

“We can’t lose sight of the fact that we continue to have people who are affected by this, who continue to have outbreaks, we continue to have transmission and so we are not at the point yet where we can let up our guard,” Henry said. “The storm is still raging.”

The risk of a spike, outbreak or cluster of cases within the community, is still a very real possibility and something that Henry said is a “very real concern” for her.

“We know it continues to happen,” she said. “We know as well that we are subject to what is going on around us and that has been really apparent. This is a global phenomenon and we know that this still a major problem in communities all around us.”

Henry said because the virus has a 14-day incubation period, adding that whatever happened on the Easter Weekend will be seen in the coming days.

“We are nearing, maybe, the end of our storm, but we are in that eye of the storm right now. We are not going to be taking any measures in the next two weeks, but we are planning, we are planning what that is going to look like when we get to that point in May,” she said.

Whenever restrictions are eased, they will be gradual, slow and thoughtful, according to Henry.

“We don’t want all of the sacrifices that we have been doing across the province to be for naught. We need to make sure that when we open things up we do it in a measured thoughtful way that protects us and protects all of us while opening up our economy, while opening up our health system as we move forward,” she said.

Longer term, Henry said realistically there will not be any large-scale events happening this summer. She said that is a “much risker prospect than ever before” and that there is not enough heard or community immunity to the virus to permit those types of events.

“Large parades, mass gatherings where we all come together, those will not be happening this summer,” she said.

Henry said there is the possibility that there will be more opportunities for social interaction in the summer, but didn’t specific what that could look like. However, she said events such as the PNE are “likely” not going to happen this summer either.

“This is a challenging time around our world and it is not going to be easy for us to get out of it,” she said. “But those types of large mass gatherings, where we have lots of people together; this is not the time for that and it not going to be this summer. It will be again in our future and I think we have to keep hold of that.”


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