71 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., largest spike of cases in weeks

71 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., largest spike of cases in weeks
Mike McArthur/CBC
B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides daily updates on COVID-19 in B.C.

B.C. saw its largest spike of COVID-19 cases in weeks Wednesday, a jump that Health Minister Adrian Dix says reflects the outbreak among workers at the United Poultry Company in Vancouver.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, said there are 71 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., bringing the provincial total to 1,795.

There are also three more deaths, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 90 in B.C. All the deaths were from long-term care homes. Two were in Fraser Health and one in Vancouver Coastal.

There is only one new case in the Island Health region, bringing the COVID-19 total in Island Health to 110. There are 745 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 747 in Fraser Health, 153 in Interior Health and 40 in Northern Health.

Henry said the spike in new cases is a reminder that British Columbians need to continue committing to breaking the chain of transmission by staying home and practicing physical distancing.

There are 103 COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals (down from 109 on April 21), including 46 in intensive care. A total of 1,079 people have recovered from COVID-19.

There are three more outbreaks at long-term care homes in Fraser Health and the outbreak at Mission Institution now has 77 cases now confirmed. There are five inmates in hospital.

“We continue to experience new community outbreaks. This, of course, is very, very concerning,’ Henry said.

No new cases have been recorded in connection with an outbreak at the East Vancouver poultry processing plant. Twenty-eight employees have tested positive for the virus. The announcement of the outbreak was made Tuesday but not all the cases were reflected in Tuesday’s numbers.

Henry said its important employers not penalize employees who need to stay home because they’re feeling ill.

“One of the most important things we all need to do is stay home if we’re not feeling well,” Henry said.

On Monday, Henry said anyone with symptoms can get tested in an attempt to avoid a spike in disease transmission through the community. But she also said not everyone will need to be tested and the test is not necessarily effective for people with no symptoms.

Earlier Wednesday, B.C. Premier John Horgan says he wants to be cautious about reopening the province after COVID-19.

He says two recent outbreaks at the Mission prison and at a Vancouver poultry processing plant are warnings that the public can’t be complacent about the virus.

Horgan says he’ll follow the science for advice in lifting of restrictions in the weeks ahead.

He says B.C. residents don’t want to give up the progress they’ve made by easing restrictions too quickly.

Dix said B.C.’s critical care wards are about 46 per cent occupied as of Wednesday. As the hospitalization rate remains low, Dix said the province will eventually be able to resume scheduled elective surgeries cancelled in March.

For more on the latest COVID-19 numbers in B.C., visit the BC Centre for Disease Control dashboard. 

According to researchers with Johns Hopkins University, the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide is over 2.6 million with more than 182,000 deaths. 

Watch the April 22, 2020 news conference below:

More to come

With files from The Canadian Press and CBC


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