Seven more COVID-19 cases reported in Island Health, total now at 109

Seven more COVID-19 cases reported in Island Health, total now at 109
Mike McArthur/CBC
B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provided an updated Tuesday on B.C.'s latest COVID-19 numbers.

Seven more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Island Health, bringing the region’s total to 109.

Health officials also said Tuesday that 28 employees at the United Poultry Company in Vancouver have tested positive for COVID-19 and an outbreak has been declared at the facility.

The chicken processing plant was closed Monday and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, said Vancouver Coastal Health is following up with close contacts. She added that there is no evidence of COVID-19 transmission through chicken. She also reminded people to cook and handle meat safely to avoid food-borne illness.

Vancouver Coastal Health said all employees have been told to self-isolate for 14 days.

Henry said at the daily press conference Tuesday there are 25 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. as of April 21. Not all the cases connected to the chicken processing plant are in Tuesday’s numbers, Henry said.

There has also been one new death: an individual at a Vancouver Coastal Health long-term care facility, raising the death toll in the province to 87.

The provincial COVID-19 case total is now at 1,724 cases.

One hundred and nine people in the province are in hospital with COVID-19, including 51 people in critical care. Of those hospitalizations, 55 are in Fraser Health, 35 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 11 in Interior Health, five on Vancouver Island and three in Northern Health.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the hospital occupancy rate is slightly higher than a week or so ago.

There are no new long-term care facility outbreaks. There continue to be 20 active outbreaks and there are up to 319 COVID-19 cases in long-term care and assisted living facilities.

There are also 76 cases associated with the Mission Institution, including 65 federal inmates. There are no new cases in B.C. connected to the outbreak at the Kearl Lake oilsands project in northern Alberta as of April 21.

Henry said it’s important to find cases in the community and contain outbreaks so they don’t spread.

“We are all at risk if we start transmitting the virus in our community,” Henry said.

Dix said to expand the availability of N95 respirators, equivalents have been approved for use, for example, KN95 respirators. All are being tested before use.

Meanwhile Canada’s chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam says she and her provincial counterparts are considering ways to ease restrictions around COVID-19.

But she says the fight against the pandemic remains a “marathon” and there are lots of unknowns at play.

Tam is urging individual sectors to start thinking about innovative ways of reopening while preventing the illness from spreading, as immunity against COVID-19 across the country is “not high.”

And Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government plans to provide $350 million to Canada’s charities sector.

Charities have seen a severe drop in donations since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, with donors hurting financially themselves and an inability to hold fundraising events.

Trudeau says some of the money will go to smaller, independent organizations while the rest will flow to national groups such as the United Way and Canadian Red Cross.

Trudeau also said companies whose businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to start applying for a promised wage subsidy on April 27.

Trudeau says the Canada Revenue Agency is setting up a calculator so employers can see how much they can expect to receive from the program, which will provide up to $847 per employee per week.

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 global COVID-19 cases is more than 2.5 million. There have been more than 176,000 deaths reported. 

Watch the April 21, 2020, news conference below

 

 

 

With files from The Canadian Press and CBC

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