British Columbia

B.C. records 21 new cases of COVID-19 as province braces for gradual reopening

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 21 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. on Saturday, bringing the total to 2,428.

Province records one additional death, no new community outbreaks

  • 21 more people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. 
  • One more person has died in the past 24 hours.
  • There have been 2,428 cases and 141 people have died in total.
  • There are 355 active cases in B.C.
  • 49 people are in hospital, 11 of them in the ICU.
  • 1,932 people have recovered.
  • No new community outbreaks.
  • No new outbreaks in long-term care homes.
  • There are 15 ongoing outbreaks in long-term care homes, and five ongoing outbreaks in acute care facilities.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 21 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. on Saturday, bringing the total to 2,428.

One additional person has died, bringing the total number of deaths to 141.

There is an ongoing outbreak at Oppenheimer Group, a fruit and vegetable processing plant in Coquitlam, where there are three cases. There is also an ongoing outbreak in the intensive care unit of Abbotsford Regional Hospital, where six staff and two patients have tested positive.

But Henry said there is no concern that health care workers in that facility are lacking proper personal protective equipment.

"That's not an issue that has been associated with this outbreak. This outbreak reminds us of how pernicious this virus is and how difficult it is to manage it because we know that people may have very mild illness and may not recognize it in themselves," she said.

Bracing for Phase 2

B.C. is set to begin Phase 2 of its response on May 19, allowing for increased social interactions, and the gradual reopening of many businesses and service providers, as well as schools and medical offices. 

Henry said the ability to recognize a person who has symptoms — whether they be staff or a patron of a business — is among the most important actions for preventing new outbreaks.

"There can be no flexibility on that piece," she said.

Henry's revised orders for Phase 2, which come into effect on Tuesday, are now posted online. WorkSafeBC has also posted guidelines to help businesses develop a safe reopening plan. 

Those include protocols like installing Plexiglas barriers, limiting the number of people who can be seated inside a restaurant, and maintaining one-way aisles at grocery stores to reduce risk.

Henry says she recognizes that not all businesses will be able to reopen under the new guidelines, and that some measures may seem overly restrictive — but that is intentional.

"We know that managing this virus is the best thing we can do to manage our economy," she said.

"We may not be 100 per cent right, right off the bat, but we'll work things out."

Monitoring for Phase 3

Henry has said it could take up to 28 days to know whether B.C. can move into Phase 3 and continue reopening, or scale back.

"I'm hoping that our approach will not take us there," she said.

Henry said the province will be monitoring the number of people in hospital, and the number of new cases not linked to any known outbreak.

The province will also be ramping up its capacity to conduct contact tracing within 24 to 48 hours when a new case is identified.

She said that B.C. is not testing at full capacity — which would be 7,000 people per day — because there are not that many people in the community who currently need to be tested.

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

About the Author

Michelle Ghoussoub

@MichelleGhsoub

Michelle Ghoussoub is a journalist with CBC News in Vancouver. She has previously reported in Lebanon and Chile. Reach her at michelle.ghoussoub@cbc.ca or on Twitter @MichelleGhsoub.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now