Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, has announced 53 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., bringing the provincial total to 1,066.
In the Island Health region, there are now 72 COVID-19 cases. That is five more than March 31, 2020. There are 497 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 367 in Fraser Health, 114 in Interior Health and 16 in Northern Health.
There has been one additional death in the Fraser Valley. The total number of COVID-19 deaths in B.C. is at 25. There are 142 hospitalized cases, with 67 in critical care.
“This is a very challenging time for us,” Henry said.
“It’s hard to know how things are going to go. Without a doubt, we will get through this.”
She said there are still a few more weeks to go before the province can see if the curve has been dent.
The majority of COVID-19 deaths in B.C. have been linked to cases at long-term care homes. In the province, 606 people have recovered from COVID-19.
According to Henry, there are 21 long-term care or assisted living COVID-19 outbreaks. The majority of the outbreaks are small but the ones at Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver and Haro Park Centre in Vancouver are bigger outbreaks with more cases.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said during the daily news conference April 1 that there has been an overall decline in ambulance calls and fewer ER visits.
He also emphasized there is no ambiguity for Canadians returning from aborad about Quarantine Act orders, which require returning Canadians to be at home in isolation.
“It would be a real betrayal to your community not to follow those rules,” he said. “Everybody who comes home has to understand that.”
Henry was asked during the news conference about whether B.C. health officials would recommend people wear masks. Henry said the supply of medical maks and respirators is “tenuous.” She said homemade maks may prevent some droplets from spreading to others but there is no proven protection for people who wear them.
She once again emphasized the importance of physical distancing to make the next months easier. Henry said she is encouraged by the creativity people are displaying during social distancing like the 7 p.m. cheers for health-care workers, virtual kindergarten classes, late-night gaming sessions among teenagers, people leaving flowers and groceries for their neighbours, and businesses offering support.
Meanwhile, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the health care system has the potential to be overwhelmed in all of the COVID-19 scenarios projected by the federal government.
The federal government has not shared any of its projections related to how the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to play out in Canada.
But Tam says the health system is not designed to deal with this kind of surge, and could be facing difficult decisions about how to allocate scarce resources in all those scenarios.
She says in some of the worst-case scenarios, the health care system will not be able to cope.
You can watch the news conference below or on CHEK on your TV:
With files from The Canadian Press