Dr. Bonnie Henry, the B.C. provincial health officer, announced 55 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the provincial total number of cases to 2,053.
Of the total number of cases, there are 119 in Island Health (two more than April 27), 803 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 918 in Fraser Health, 168 in Interior Health and 45 in Northern Health. In the province, 1,231 people have recovered.
Two more deaths have also been announced, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 105 in B.C. Ninety-four people are currently in hospital with 37 in intensive care. Hospitalizations are down from 97 a day earlier.
According to Henry, the majority of new cases are linked to the outbreaks at chicken processing facilities. There are 46 cases linked to Superior Poultry in Coquitlam and 34 cases at United Poultry in Vancouver. One hundred and twenty inmates and 12 staff members at Mission Institution have tested positive for COVID-19.
There are no new outbreaks of COVID-19 in the province as of April 28. A total of 391 confirmed cases are linked to outbreaks in long-term care homes.
Henry said B.C. hasn’t experienced the high fatality rates for COVID-19 patients in intensive care that some other jurisdictions have seen, adding that the province’s ICU fatality rate is “much lower” than in other parts of the world.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province is still keeping pace with the demand for personal protective equipment. Since last week, B.C. has received 170,000 N95 masks, 150,000 face shields and five million gloves.
Rob Fleming says a number of scenarios are being considered for what would be a controlled and measured return to classrooms, but no timelines have been set.
He says officials are also discussing opportunities for students who may need help from speech and language pathologists for an hour or two a day at school.
Fleming says the move would also allow some respite for frustrated and exhausted parents struggling to cope.
He says 23,000 computers and devices have been loaned to families along with technical support.
Printed material and flash drives have also been delivered to students in remote areas without access to the internet.
Fleming says several thousand children whose parents are essential service workers are attending schools and there are plans to accommodate more of them.
Also on Tuesday, Island Health sent out a public service announcement reminding people that anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, however mild, can get tested for COVID-19.
However Island Health said while testing has expanded, not everyone needs a test. COVID-19 testing is not recommended for people without symptoms.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the flu and common cold. They include:
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- painful swallowing
- stuffy or runny nose
- loss of sense of smell
- muscle aches
- loss of appetite
At this time, any physician or nurse practitioner can order a test for a patient with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms based on their clinical judgment.
If you do not have a primary care provider, you can call Island Health’s Call Centre at 1-844-901-8442 to be assessed to determine if you need testing (with the exception of residents in the Mt. Waddington region, who should call 250-902-6091). Appointments for COVID-19 testing must be pre-booked through a primary care provider or Island Health’s Call Centre. Testing sites are unable to accommodate unscheduled or walk-in visits. Click here to find a testing site, also known as a collection centre, at a location near you.
Island Health asks members of the public to please not go to a hospital emergency department seeking COVID-19 testing. However, people experiencing a medical emergency should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
For a full breakdown of the numbers in B.C., visit the BC COVID-19 dashboard.
With files from The Canadian Press and CBC
More to come
Watch Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix’s April 28, 2020, news conference below: