COVID-19: 24 new cases over last 48 hours, no new cases in Island Health

COVID-19: 24 new cases over last 48 hours, no new cases in Island Health
Province of BC
Health Minister Adrian Dix and Chief Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provide an update on COVID-19 on June 1, 2020.

B.C. health officials have reported 24 new cases of COVID-19 over the last 48 hours and none of the new cases are in Island Health.

Nine new cases were recorded from Saturday to Sunday and 15 were recorded from Sunday to Monday.

“This does tell us there is still transmission of COVID in some of our communities around the province and we are not completely out of the woods yet,” Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, said.

There is also one additional death in a long-term care-home in Fraser Health. The death toll in B.C. is 165.

There have now been 904 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,307 in Fraser Health, 127 in Island Health, 195 in Interior Health and 64 in Northern Health. A total of 2,207 people have recovered.

There are currently 32 COVID-19 hospitalizations with five in intensive care. There are currently 224 active cases.

And are no new outbreaks in health-care settings. Right now, there are 12 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living and one in a hospital acute care unit.

Both Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix addressed the protests against police violence and racism going on in B.C., including the one in Vancouver on Sunday. An estimated 3,500 people attended the rally in Vancouver.

A black man died last week in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck. George Floyd’s death has sent throngs into the streets in several U.S. and Canadian cities to decry systemic racism and police brutality.

Both Henry and Dix joined the pledge of Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin asking British Columbians to oppose racism in all forms.

“Hate has no place in our province. But we can’t forget we are in the middle of a pandemic. We must be careful in how we exercise our right to a peaceful demonstration,” Henry said.

Henry said she hopes the province will not see an increase in COVID-19 cases in the next few weeks. She said people who were at the demonstrations Sunday may have put themselves at risk of COVID-19. She thanked those who wore masks. She also said people should monitor themselves for symptoms and get tested if needed.

According to Henry, health officials will be watching the aftermath of the protests carefully, along with the activities resuming under Phase 2 of B.C.’s Restart Plan. 

She said it’s important to use the tools developed since COVID-19 began to prevent transmission and do contact tracing.

“I’m hopeful that we haven’t created too much damage and we’ll be able to continue to move forward but we did to be cautious. We need to remember and be thoughtful of the sacrifices all of us have made over these past months,” Henry said.

READ MORE: Demonstrators gather in downtown Victoria as George Floyd protests continue in U.S.

Dix said physical distancing saves life and there is a reason gatherings are restricted to 50 people are fewer, as it can put vulnerable people at risk. He said people going to gatherings need to keep their loved ones and others in society in mind.

“We have to continue to keep that in mind and that means we have to find new ways, different ways to protest in our society, to express opposition in our society, to express points of view in our society, to express change in our society and that will require using, as is happening in every area, new methods to do that, new means to do that,” Dix said.

Also on Monday, top federal health officials, acknowledging a striking lack of data on how the pandemic has hit marginalized communities, are encouraging anti-racism rally-goers to make their voices heard while keeping COVID-19 safety in mind.

For months, public health authorities have discouraged large gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but neither Canada’s health minister nor its chief public health officer are suggesting people avoid taking part in protests.

“Gathering together is a very powerful way to lend that support and to be an ally,” Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Monday. “There are ways to do it more safely.”

She suggested protesters make sure they have hand sanitizer and wear masks, because physical distancing may not be possible.

“Although we’ve seen much more peaceful protests in general here in Canada, we still encourage people to be very careful when they’re congregating in large crowds.”

Top doctor Theresa Tam added that signs and noisemakers are safer ways for demonstrators to express themselves than raising their voices.

“Shouting and that type of behaviour can potentially project more droplets,” she said. “Be considerate of others. People are out to protest to support a common goal.”

Both Tam and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada needs to do a better job collecting race-based pandemic data.

“We do know that COVID doesn’t hit everyone the same way … racialized communities are living this very differently than others,” Trudeau said.

“That’s why having accurate pictures of how people are being affected by this – and therefore how we can and should help them – is going to be really important going forward.”

Trudeau said his government has been working with provinces to get more detailed data.

Tam said federal officials are now able to get 99 per cent of case files from provinces and territories, but they still don’t include a breakdown on ethnicity. Her office is working with Statistics Canada to get better information, she said.

She added that local data for cities such as Toronto and Montreal has confirmed certain neighbourhoods have been worse-hit than others, perhaps because of workplace outbreaks or crowded living conditions.

Also Monday, Trudeau announced Ottawa is advancing $2.2 billion in expected infrastructure funding to cities and towns. Sending gas-tax funds sooner than planned should ease municipal cash-flow concerns.

“We know that this is just an initial measure that brings forward money that the cities were going to get six months from now anyway,” said Trudeau. “But there is a need right now for liquidity for support as they deal with this COVID crisis.”

Meanwhile, provinces were continuing to loosen their pandemic restrictions Monday.

Schools reopened in British Columbia for children with parents OK with their kids attending. Most kindergarten to Grade 5 students can opt to go half time if they wish, while Grades 6 to 12 in-person classes are set for one day a week.

Manitoba eased its ban on care-home visits.

Also in Manitoba, film productions were allowed to resume and a ban on non-essential travel to the province’s north was being eased.

In Ontario, drive-in movie theatres and batting cages were allowed to reopen Sunday, and campers can now return to provincial parks, with stipulations.

Prince Edward Island is allowing in-house dining as well as reopening of child-care centres and libraries. Also allowed are outdoor visits with residents at long-term care homes, certain recreational and sporting activities and gatherings of up to 15 people indoors and 20 outdoors.

More than half of Canada’s 48 national parks were also accessible for day use as of Monday.

To see a breakdown of B.C. COVID-19 cases by day, visit the B.C. COVID-19 dashboard.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, is more than 6.2 million, according to researchers with Johns Hopkins University and Medicine. There have also been more than 373,000 deaths reported. 

Watch Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix on June 1, 2020.

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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