No new COVID-19 cases in Island Health since Friday

No new COVID-19 cases in Island Health since Friday
Province of BC
Health Minister Adrian Dix and Chief Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provide an update on COVID-19 on May 11, 2020.

There have been no new cases of COVID-19 reported in Island Health since Friday, according to B.C. health officials.

On May 11, Chief Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 23 new cases of COVID-19 since Saturday and one more death in the Fraser Health region.

There were nine new cases in the first 24 hours and 14 in the next one.

There have now been 2,353 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. The death toll is 130 and 1,719 people have recovered from the illness.

Of those cases, there are 873 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 1,118 in Fraser Health, 125 in Island Health (no change from the one new case on May 8, 2020), 180 in Interior Health and 57 in Northern Health.

There are 66 COVID-19 patients in hospital, with 18 in intensive care. Thirty-eight of the hospitalizations are in Fraser Health, two are in Interior Health, one in Island Health, three in Northern Health and 22 in Vancouver Coastal Health.

There are 19 active outbreaks in long-term outbreaks but there are no new community outbreaks.

The outbreak at the West Kelowna Bylands Nursery has been declared over.

“This is excellent news,” Henry said.

“We know how much we depend on the temporary foreign workers who come into British Columbia to support our agriculture sector. Their health and the health of our communities is paramount.”

Henry said B.C. is developing plans to allow family members to visit relatives in long-term care facilities.

Starting next week, B.C. plans to move to Phase 2 of its restart plan.

However, Henry said it is important that people keep physical distancing, warning that despite her encouragement to get outside, people should stick to their families, especially during the May long weekend.

She also said not all organizations that fall under the second phase will be ready to open at the same time. For example, fitness centres do fall under phase two but the centres have to meet certain criteria. There are also local orders in parts of the province.

“I’ve heard from many who’ve said they’ll be ready to go as soon as they are able to, and many others who want to take the time and look at their own individual circumstances,” Henry said.

“And that’s ok. It’s important not to feel rushed.”

And the B.C. government is asking people to avoid non-essential travel over the B.C. and Alberta border. Travel into Yukon via highways 97 and 37 is limited to essential travel.

The current U.S. – Canada border closure expires on May 21 but both Henry and Dix said that is not in the province’s best interest.

Dix said Premier John Horgan does not agree the border should open at this time and all Canadians returning from the U.S. need to self-isolate for 14 days regardless.

“With respect to the United States right now, it would make no sense to have visitors travelling either from Canada to the United States and returning or to have visitors, not essential traffic but vistors coming from the United States to Canada,” Dix said, adding he will be making that clear to the federal health minister, Patty Hajdu.

When asked about people going to parks and beaches over this past weekend, Henry said the vast majority of people are doing the right thing and are tasking the COVID-19 risks to heart.

She also said there are bylaw officers providing warnings but B.C. is not taking a punitive approach.

“I think it’s worked for us and we will continue to do that,” Henry said.

Earlier Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will continue to push for caution in terms of lifting COVID-19 restrictions.

Trudeau says leaders across the country are trying to find the right balance in terms of easing back on the lockdown and reopening the economy.

But he says the sacrifices that Canadians have made over the past two months will “all go up in smoke” if the wrong choices are made.

The comments came as schools in parts of Quebec reopened today even though the province has the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

And Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said there are more than 100 potential vaccines that officials are hoping will prevent COVID-19, though none is more promising than the others.

A vaccine has been seen as critical for returning to pre-pandemic normal, with researchers in Canada and around the world scrambling to develop one as quickly as possible.

Even as that work is going on, Tam says officials are also looking at how a vaccine will be rolled out to people if and when one is discovered.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu says the government is also looking at ways to ensure development and production of a COVID-19 vaccine does not take away from work on the annual flu vaccines that many Canadians get every year.

Researchers with Johns Hopkins University and Medicine say the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases globally is more than 4.1 million, with more than 285,000 deaths.

More to come

Watch Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix on May 11, 2020 below

With files from CBC and The Canadian Press

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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