British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on April 10, 2020

As the long weekend begins, health officials in B.C. are warning that the province's progress on bending the COVID-19 curve could be lost if people don't resist the temptation to travel or gather with friends.

40 new cases and 5 additional deaths announced Friday

A person lifts weights in an empty parking lot in Stanley Park in Vancouver on Tuesday. Lots at parks across the region, including Stanley Park, have been closed to deter crowds from flooding the area over the weekend. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • 40 new cases of COVID-19 and five more deaths were announced Friday. 
  • The total number of people who have tested positive in B.C. is now 1,410.
  • 55 people have died.
  • 879 patients have recovered from the illness.
  • There were 128 COVID-19 patients in hospital as of Friday, including 65 in intensive care.
  • The outbreak at Mission Institution continues to grow, with 24 cases now confirmed.
  • People in B.C. should not be travelling this long weekend unless it is absolutely essential.

As the long weekend begins, health officials in B.C. are warning that the province's progress on bending the COVID-19 curve could be lost if people don't resist the temptation to travel or gather with friends.

"We are not over the hump yet. We are going to have a bumpy ride for a while," provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday.

"Going into this long weekend, it is more important than ever that we keep going."

Henry said it is OK to go outside for a walk and a bit of fresh air, but only with people you live with and away from crowds. Many city parks have blocked off their parking lots to discourage visitors from out of town, and B.C. Parks has shut down all provincial parks for the same reason.

Leaving town to spend the weekend at a second property in a smaller, more rural community is also not advised.

The province's top doctor acknowledged outings will be tougher than ever to resist, given the good weather on a holiday weekend, but family gatherings will put people at risk and threaten B.C.'s progress. 

Locals in smaller communities across the province voiced their frustrations Friday as visitors began arriving for the long weekend, potentially carrying COVID-19 to remote areas that don't have the resources to handle a major outbreak. 

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To date, B.C. has confirmed 1,410 cases of the virus and reported 55 deaths.

The number of fully recovered patients is now 879 patients.

There are now 20 active outbreaks in long-term care homes in the Lower Mainland, while the number of cases at Mission Institution, a federal prison, continues to climb, with 24 confirmed.

A health-care worker at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver holds a flower during the daily applause and cheers of support for the hospital's staff on Thursday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Henry published a statement Friday addressing the public's questions around wearing cloth masks. She said medical masks should be saved for health-care professionals, but a cloth mask is a personal choice. 

She said the masks will help you avoid spreading any illness to others, but "will not protect you from COVID-19."

"Choosing to wear such a face covering is like coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your sleeve," Henry wrote. "Using a cloth mask does not give you permission to disregard physical distancing and self-isolation orders."

She stressed that the best way to stay healthy is to regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated Friday the physical distancing measures must continue. He has said "normality" will not return until a vaccine is developed, which could take up to one year.

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Important reminders:

Health officials widely agree the most important thing you can do to prevent coronavirus and other illnesses is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. 

The World Health Organization said more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 infections are estimated to be mild.

What's happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 4 p.m. PT on Friday, Canada had 22,148 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19. The provinces and territories that provide data on recovered cases listed 6,025 as resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths, which is based on public health information and reporting, lists 621 COVID-19-related deaths in Canada, as well as two coronavirus-linked deaths of Canadians abroad.

The numbers, which are updated at least daily by the provinces and territories, are not a complete picture, as they don't account for people who haven't been tested, those being investigated as a potential case and people still waiting for test results. 

For a look at what's happening across the country and the world, check the CBC interactive case tracker.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Stay home. Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority or 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

Find information about COVID-19 from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Non-medical information about COVID-19 is available in B.C. from 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. PT, seven days a week at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
  • Keep at least two metres away from people who are sick.
  • When outside the home, keep two metres away from other people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Masks won't fully protect you from infection, but can help prevent you from infecting others.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

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 The Canadian Press

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