British Columbia health officials announced Friday that four more people in the province have died from the new coronavirus.
Authorities also announced 53 new confirmed cases of the virus, bringing the provincial total to 1,174 people tested positive. There are now 35 deaths from the virus in British Columbia.
The provincial health worker, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, made the announcement on Friday.
They also announced a new outbreak in a long-term care facility, bringing the total to 22 of those locations where someone has tested positive for the virus.
Henry said there were 176 cases of COVID-19 associated with nursing homes and the like in British Columbia. Most of these cases are linked to just two outbreaks, said Henry. These were the outbreaks at the Lynn Valley Care Center in North Vancouver – which was the first recorded in the province – and at Haro Park in Vancouver.
The provincial health worker said that experience managing these outbreaks has helped to mitigate the effects of subsequent outbreaks. The province has aggressively tested those associated with long-term care facilities in hopes of finding new outbreaks as soon as possible, said Henry.
“We are encouraged that they have been identified with only one staff member or one resident who tested positive for the disease,” she said. “The measures we have put in place in long-term care and assisted living mean that they are identified very early and we are able to control them. “
That said, the Lynn Valley and Haro Park outbreaks are responsible for most of the deaths seen in British Columbia. of COVID-19. Henry said Friday that 24 of the 35 deaths in the province have occurred in long-term care facilities.
Asked if B.C. had a planned death toll from the pandemic that it would share publicly, as officials in Ontario and the United States have done, Henry insisted that it did not.
She said modeling the pandemic shows what could happen in a variety of different scenarios, but there are too many unknowns to make predictions about what will happen.
Models exist to help officials make sure the province’s health care resources are ready to respond no matter what, Henry said.
“You can’t predict where it will break out,” she said. “We all have our own pandemic that we are going through, and even in different parts of British Columbia, it’s quite different. So in the Lower Mainland, we know that the epidemic was caused, unfortunately, by this long-spread virus. long-term care. “
A total of 146 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in British Columbia, a number that represents a slight decrease from Thursday’s update, said Henry. Some 64 people are in intensive care with the virus.
Officials said on Thursday that there were 149 people hospitalized with the virus and 68 in intensive care.
While this decline is encouraging, Henry and Dix stressed that British Columbians should stay at home as much as possible and maintain a physical distance of at least two meters from others when in public.
“You can tell by the numbers we have, the people who are hospitalized and the fact that this disease is observed in our province, that the risk remains high for everyone here in British Columbia,” said Henry. “We are right in the middle. We are in the thick of it right now. “
As she has done in the past, Henry reiterated the importance of handwashing, self-isolation for those who are sick or who have returned from travel and avoiding contact with people at particular risk if they catch the virus.
“It is time for us to hold the line,” she said. “We must be steadfast in our commitment to keep our firewall here in British Columbia, keep it solid and flatten our curve. “
Most cases from British Columbia are still in the Lower Mainland. There are 541 people who tested positive for coronavirus in the Vancouver Coastal Health area and 412 in the Fraser Health area, who combine to cover all of Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and the Sea- to-Sky.
Elsewhere in the province, there are 126 cases in the inland health region, 74 in the island health region and 21 in the northern health region.
A total of 641 people who tested positive for COVID-19 in British Columbia. are now considered fully recovered.