Five more COVID-19 deaths reported in BC, death toll now at 140

Five more COVID-19 deaths reported in BC, death toll now at 140
Province of BC
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry takes part in the announcement that parents will have the choice of bringing their children back to class on a part-time basis this school year as part of BC’s Restart Plan, with the goal of returning to full-time classes in September 2020, provided it is safe to do so.

B.C. health officials are reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and five more deaths as of May 15.

According to Chief Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, four of the deaths were in the Fraser Health region and one was in Vancouver Coastal Health. The death toll from COVID-19 in the province is now at 140.

There have now been a total of 2,407 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. There are 359 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 1,908 people who tested positive have recovered.

Of the total COVID-19 cases, 51 individuals are hospitalized (down seven from May 14, 2020), 12 of whom are in intensive care.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 878 cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,164 in the Fraser Health region, 126 in the Island Health region (no change from May 14, 2020), 181 in the Interior Health region and 58 in the Northern Health region.

Of the cases in Island Health, 120 people have recovered and one person is in hospital.

There is one new acute-care outbreak, located at the Abbotsford Regional Hospital. In total, 15 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and five acute-care units have active cases.

And there is also one new community outbreak with two confirmed cases at the Oppenheimer Group, a fruit and vegetable processing plant in Coquitlam.

Dix and Henry said the public health investigation into the plant is ongoing and active contract tracing is underway. The plant is still open at this time.

“We must continue to be measured and thoughtful with each step forward in our COVID-19 recovery. The new outbreaks demonstrate that there continues to be risk of COVID-19 in our communities,” Dix and Henry said in Friday’s statement.

“We want a strong start, and to do that we need to stay local, stay apart and stay 100 per cent committed to working together.”

Henry and Dix release the COVID-19 numbers in a statement on Fridays instead of at a news conference.

Earlier Friday, B.C. Premier John Horgan announced students in British Columbia can go back to school June 1 on a part-time, optional basis with no pressure on parents to send their kids to class. 

The provincial government’s goal remains the return of full-time classes in September, if it is safe.

Also on Friday, WorkSafe BC has released new industry-specific guidance for employers reopening across the province.

The guidelines cover sectors ranging from restaurants to office space, including guidelines on how many people should be allowed in a business as well as controlling entry and exit points.

Specific guidelines for sports and recreation as well as child care will be released later.

The provincial safety agency says it will continue developing industry-specific guidelines as more businesses across B.C. begin reopening over the coming months.

And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says provinces looking to reopen their economies will need to significantly boost and co-ordinate testing and contact tracing to contain future outbreaks of COVID-19.

Trudeau says testing and tracing that transcends provincial boundaries will be essential as restrictions begin to be eased and people travel more.

He says a national approach will require the provinces to work with Ottawa on a collective effort.

The number of cases of COVID-19 globally is now more than 4.5 million, with over 306,000 deaths, according to researchers with Johns Hopkins University and Medicine. The numbers are taken from official and media reports. 

With files from The Canadian Press


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