COVID-19: B.C.’s death toll passes 150, confirmed cases at 2,479

COVID-19: B.C.'s death toll passes 150, confirmed cases at 2,479
Province of BC
Health Minister Adrian Dix and Chief Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provide an update on COVID-19 on May 21, 2020.

There have been three more deaths from COVID-19 reported in British Columbia, bringing the provincial death toll to 152.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, said Thursday there were 12 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 2,479. A total of 2,220 people have recovered, more than 81 per cent of all cases.

Of the 2,479 cases, 887 have been in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,223 in Fraser Health, 126 in Island Health (no change from May 20), 183 in Interior Health and 60 in Northern Health.

And of the three deaths reported Thursday, one was in Vancouver Coastal Health and two were in long-term care in the Fraser Health region.

There is one new community outbreak at the Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford. One person there has tested positive.

The United Poultry Facility outbreak in Vancouver is considered over. The facility is now open.

There are currently 14 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living, along with three in hospital acute care units.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said since non-elective surgeries have resumed in B.C. 12,016 patients have been contacted from May 7 to May 17. There have been 2,586 surgeries for May 18 to May 24.

Earlier Thursday, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said how Canadians could safely resume air travel is a subject under scrutiny.

Henry said during Thursday’s press conference that more than 40,000 travellers coming to B.C. by air or land have been screened and ensured they had a valid isolation plan.

Tam also said a lot of questions need to be answered about how to make planes safe both for travellers’ confidence but also public health.

Tam also warned about getting too loose as some provinces open up more services in the COVID-19 pandemic.

She cautions it could cause a big setback.

Henry spoke once again on Thursday about wearing non-medical masks in situations where people can’t physically distance, such as transit. She said it’s a way of keeping droplets in and being respectful of others. But she added not everyone can wear a mask.

Henry also addressed recent media reports that show women account for the majority of people who’ve died of COVID-19 in Canada.

According to Henry, the opposite is true in B.C.

While male patients make up 48 per cent of confirmed cases to date, 60 per cent of those hospitalized and 62 per cent of those who have died are men.

Henry said there are studies underway around the world to determine why there are gender imbalances in deaths and hospitalizations.

And Dix also provided an update on the provincial order stating that long-term care staff can only work at a single facility. The order was put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

He said that of the 545 facilities that have employed people who work in multiple sites, 499 have completed their single-site plan.

Dix described the process of implementing this order as complex but necessary to control the spread of the virus.

To see a breakdown of COVID-19 cases in B.C. by health authority and date, visit the BC COVID-19 dashboard.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases around the world is now more than five million, according to researchers with Johns Hopkins University and Medicine. More than 330,000 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported.

Watch Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix on May 21, 2020 below:

More to come

With files from The Canadian Press and CBC

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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