British Columbia

COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. continue to fall as deaths rise to 105

The number of people hospitalized in B.C. with COVID-19 has fallen once again, though provincial officials have announced another spike in new confirmed cases.

Provincial health officer announces 55 new cases of the disease, mostly linked to known outbreaks

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix deliver an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in British Columbia. (CBC)

The number of people hospitalized in B.C. with COVID-19 has fallen once again, though provincial health officials have announced another spike in new confirmed cases.

On Tuesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 55 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total to date to 2,053. Two more deaths have been recorded, for a total of 105, and 1,231 people have recovered from their illness.

Currently, there are 94 COVID-19 patients in hospital, down from 97 a day earlier. Thirty-seven of those patients are in intensive care.

Henry said the majority of the new cases announced Tuesday are connected to known outbreaks in the community.

There are 46 cases connected to the Superior Poultry Processors plant in Coquitlam and 34 at United Poultry in Vancouver. One hundred and twenty inmates and 12 staff members at Mission Institution have tested positive for the disease.

A total of 391 confirmed cases are linked to outbreaks in long-term care homes.

Henry noted that B.C. hasn't experienced the high fatality rates for COVID-19 patients in intensive care that some other jurisdictions have seen. In fact, she said B.C.'s ICU fatality rate is "much lower" than in other parts of the world.

She pointed out that early on in the pandemic, a B.C. woman in her 80s spent a number of days on a ventilator but is now recovering at home.

Henry also said she understands the COVID-related restrictions on business and daily life have taken a toll on British Columbians, in terms of emotional, financial and social hardships. She said the province has attempted to strike a delicate balance between virus control measures and maintaining B.C. society, and she still hopes some restrictions will be lifted beginning in mid-May.

Meanwhile, scientists at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control are examining 17 different serology testing systems that could be used to determine who has previously been infected with the novel coronavirus, Henry said. She said a few of those tests are showing promise.

Earlier Tuesday, the federal government revealed new, updated projections on the number of potential cases and deaths in Canada from COVID-19, which are lower than initial estimates. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this shows public health measures are working to slow the spread of the disease caused by the virus — but also said the country is "not out of the woods yet."

"We are in the middle of the most serious public health emergency Canada has ever seen, and if we lift measures too quickly, we could lose the progress we've made," Trudeau said. 

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca

With files from Roshini Nair

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