Pandemic update: Six more B.C. deaths since Wednesday

Vancouver Island has recorded its first deaths from COVID-19

There have been 55 additional COVID-19 cases in British Columbia since Wednesday, bringing the total to 1,121, and six additional deaths, bringing the total to 31.

Of the total cases, 149 are in hospital, 68 in intensive care and  641 recovered.

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There are now 21 long-term care homes with at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. The full list is here.

Vancouver Island has recorded its first two deaths from COVID-19, and one case has been confirmed at the Okanagan Correctional Centre.

Public health officer Bonnie Henry said concerns have been raised in small communities about city dwellers flocking to their cottages during the current pandemic. She urged them to stay home and not visit cottage country.

"There are many of our small communities that are very concerned about people coming to vacation homes, fishing lodges and etcetera," Henry said. "And I am asking people now to forego those types of travel."

She said the concern is that smaller and remote communities may not have the medical capacity to handle a large influx of people, should there be an outbreak.

"This is not the time to travel for tourism purposes within British Columbia or anywhere else," said B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Henry also noted that there are a number of religious holidays coming up that would typically result in large gatherings of worshippers – Easter, Passover and Ramadan. She urged people of faith to find some other way of celebrating them without public gatherings.

There is also growing concerns – and frustration – over Canadians who are still returning from abroad. They are told to self-isolate for 14 days, but there have been social media shaming reports outing some of these travellers going straight to grocery stores when they get back to Canada.

Dix said there was "no excuse" for people who return from abroad not self-isolating for 14 days, although it doesn't appear that the order is necessarily enforced – it's more of an honour system.

"There is no excuse not to follow it by anybody," Dix said.

While provincial governments like B.C. have released modelling that shows where they are now with COVID-19 cases and presents best and worst-case scenarios in order to cope with a potential surge, the Trudeau government has come under fire for refusing to release its own national modelling.

Henry appeared to defend the federal government's position, saying that the spread of the virus, the measures to contain it, and even the kind of modelling done varies greatly from province to province.

"We don't just have one pandemic wave coming in this country," Henry said. "In a country that's as large and diverse as Canada, things happen at different times. So our pandemic is going to be quite different from Ontario's pandemic, or Prince Edward Island's pandemic. That's been one of the challenges at the federal level in having a model that describes what's happening across the country."

To deal with a spike in COVID-19 cases, the province has announced plans to open 271 beds at the Vancouver Convention Centre by April 8 for non-COVID-19 patients in order to free up critical care beds at the 19 hospitals in B.C. that have been designated as pandemic hospitals.

Here are the numbers for Thursday, April 2, with numbers for April 1 in brackets:

New – 55 (53)

Total – 1,121 (1,066)

Total deaths –  31 (25)

Hospitalized –149 (142)

In intensive care – 68 (67)

Recovered – 641 (606)

More to come.

nbennett@biv.com

@nbennett_biv

 

 

 

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