British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on April 3, 2020

B.C. has recorded four more deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the number of patients in hospital has fallen to 146, with 64 people in intensive care. That's three fewer patients in hospital than a day earlier and four fewer in the ICU.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there are 53 new cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths.

A man walks through an empty Burrard Skytrain station in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia on Friday, April 3, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • 53 new cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia with four more deaths.
  • A total of 1,174 cases have been confirmed in B.C.
  • To date, 673 people have recovered from their illness.
  • Hospitalizations dropped from 149 to 146, with four fewer people (64) in intensive care.
  • The death toll from the virus stands at 35.
  • An in-patient at a rehab centre in Abbotsford B.C. has tested positive, as has a HandyDART driver.
  • The City of Vancouver has pledged to provide regular cleaning and meal delivery to SROs on DTES
  • BC Ferries has laid off more than 1,000 staff and suspended its Horseshoe-Departure Bay route.
  • A case has been detected at the Okanagan Correctional Centre.

B.C. has recorded four more deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the number of patients in hospital has fallen to 146, with 64 people in intensive care.

That's three fewer patients in hospital than a day earlier and four fewer in the ICU.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Thursday that the province has confirmed another 53 cases of COVID-19, for a total so far of 1,174. To date, 673 people have recovered from their illness.

A patient at an in-patient rehabilitation centre in Abbotsford, B.C., has tested positive for COVID-19, as the number of care facilities affected by the illness continues to rise.

Fraser Health confirmed a patient at the Cottage-Worthington Pavilion rehabilitation unit tested positive for the novel coronavirus. A statement said the authority is working with staff to identify anyone who may have been exposed.

Also on Friday, TransLink's HandyDART contractor, First Transit, says that a driver working out of Richmond has tested positive for COVID-19.

The employee's workspace and vehicle have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Public Health officials have given no indication that there is an elevated risk to the public at this time.

Vancouver's most vulnerable

The City of Vancouver has secured contracts to provide regular cleaning and meal delivery to residents at 21 single-room occupancy hotels on the Downtown Eastside.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart says according to the latest updates from health officials there are currently no confirmed outbreaks or clusters in the neighbourhood, but the city expects that could change.

It has moved to add new spaces to house vulnerable people. There are two new shelters, set up at two community centres, that can take up to 160 people.

Hundreds of hotel rooms have also been secured and Stewart says B.C. Housing expects there are enough of them to meet the needs identified by local health authorities.

Federal money for food

The federal government has announced it is donating $100 million to organizations that can buy and deliver food to people in need across Canada, including in northern and Indigenous communities.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Food Banks Canada, the Breakfast Club of Canada and the Salvation Army are among those that will receive the funding.

Speaking outside his Ottawa home Friday, Trudeau also announced the Canadian Armed Forces are being sent to northern Quebec to help communities there prepare to respond to COVID-19 at the province's request.

The prime minister added the federal government has reached an agreement with Amazon to use the company's network to distribute medical supplies to meet provincial needs from coast to coast.

BC Ferries layoffs

BC Ferries has laid off more than 1,400 employees and cancelled a major route between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island as the corporation faces a steep drop in traffic.

A statement Friday said BC Ferries is seeing an 80 per cent drop in passengers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To save money, the corporation said it is suspending service on the Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route linking West Vancouver and Nanaimo for 60 days.

Assessment appeal extended

The Property Assessment Appeal Board has extended the appeal deadline to June 1 from April 30.

The board helps owners who disagree with the assessed value of their homes, which could affect their tax rate.

The board says the pandemic may affect peoples' access to their right to appeal to the board. The extension only applies to appeals required to be filed by April 30.

Financial aid for students

Locally, the provincial government announced a $1.5 million boost to the Indigenous Emergency Assistance Fund, which helps Indigenous post-secondary students facing financial hardship that affects their ability to finish their studies.

Students at all 25 public post-secondary institutions in B.C., as well as Native Education College (NEC), are eligible for funding. The money does not need to be repaid and can be spent on living, medical or community expenses.

Students can contact the Indigenous Student Service Centre on campus for help with the application process.

The province announced a $3.5 million increase in funding for all domestic students on Thursday.

Outbreak at B.C. jail

On Thursday, B.C. confirmed its first outbreak of COVID-19 at a jail after an inmate tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the Okanagan Correctional Centre near Oliver, B.C.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Thursday that the number of confirmed cases across the province has risen to 1,121. Thirty-one people have now died from COVID-19 in B.C.

As of Thursday, there were 149 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 68 in intensive care.

"The number of cases hospitalized is growing," Henry said. "But we are seeing the growth in a manageable way here in B.C."

Well over half of all confirmed patients — 641 in total — have fully recovered.

Henry also warned Thursday against tourism and other non-essential travel within B.C. to protect small communities, which are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks because they have fewer health resources.

Top stories today

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 3 p.m. PT Friday, Canada had 12,442 confirmed and presumptive cases, with 213 deaths. The provinces and territories that list information about recovered cases have reported 2,274 cases as resolved or recovered. There have also been two reported COVID-19 related deaths of Canadians abroad — one in Japan and one in Brazil. 

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 to learn the results of their test.

For a look at what's happening across the country, 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. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

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.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

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.

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