Coronavirus: B.C. health officials report first COVID-19 death in Interior Health

Coronavirus: B.C. health officials report first COVID-19 death in Interior Health
Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, at the COVID-19 news conference on April 15, 2020.

A man in his 60s is the first COVID-19 death in the Interior Health region, according to B.C. health officials.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, said the man had been mostly at home but had gone into the hospital with an acute condition just before his death.

The death was one of three new deaths from COVID-19 announced Wednesday. The other deaths were in Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health. The provincial death toll is now at 75.

Henry also announced Wednesday there were 44 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., including three more in Island Health.

There are now 1,561 COVID-19 cases in B.C., including 92 in the Island Health region. There were 89 COVID-19 cases on April 14. As of Wednesday, 131 COVID-19 patients were in hospital with 59 in intensive care. Nine hundred and fifty five people have recovered from their illness.

Henry said a balance needs to be found between opening up some parts of society, like other parts of healthcare, and being able to manage any surge of cases.

For now, Henry said the curve hasn’t come down and it’s important to “hold the line” for the coming weeks.

“We are doing OK. We see that in the fact that people are getting the healthcare they need and people are able to manage in our communities,” Henry said.

There continue to be active outbreaks at 21 long-term care homes in the Lower Mainland, where 265 staff and residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

The outbreak at Mission Institute is ongoing with 48 people testing positive and seven in hospital. And three more positive cases have been recorded among temporary foreign workers at Bylands Nurseries in West Kelowna.

Earlier Wednesday, British Columbia Premier John Horgan says people in the province should congratulate themselves for their efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve, but says it’s still too early to loosen.

Horgan says most people are following the orders of provincial health officer Henry to self-isolate if sick, practise physical distancing and frequent hand washing.

Horgan says recent data says most people in B.C. stayed close to home over the Easter holiday weekend and did not visit their weekend cottages or take drives to nearby communities.

The premier says Henry will release up-to-date data models Friday that show B.C.s successes in bending the curve of the pandemic.

Horgan also announced that B.C. is extending the provincial state of emergency for two more weeks until April 28.

More than 1,000 people in Canada have died from COVID-19.

According to researchers with Johns Hopkins University, there are more than two million reported cases of COVID-19 around the world, with more than 133,000 deaths recorded. 

To see previous case counts in B.C. and the epidemic curve, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website.

Watch the April 15, 2020, news conference with Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix below. 

With files from The Canadian Press 

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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