British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on April 4, 2020

B.C.'s provincial health officer announced 29 new coronavirus cases in the province on Saturday, bringing the total to 1,203. That represents the lowest number of new cases announced this week, but Dr. Bonnie Henry advised the risk remains "very high for us in B.C."

B.C. records lowest number of new COVID-19 cases in a week, but Dr. Bonnie Henry says risk remains high

Izzie Cheung is a respiratory therapist who is painting three of her colleagues for a mural in Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • 29 new cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia with three more deaths announced Saturday.
  • A total of 1,203 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in B.C.
  • To date, 704 people have recovered from their illness.
  • 149 patients are hospitalized, with 68 in intensive care.
  • The B.C. death toll from the virus stands at 38.
  • There have been two new infections of inmates in B.C.
  • TransLink is further reducing services as demand plummets.

B.C.'s provincial health officer announced 29 new coronavirus cases in the province on Saturday, bringing the total to 1,203.

That represents the lowest number of new cases announced this week, but Dr. Bonnie Henry advised the risk remains "very high for us in B.C."

She wants people to continue with physical distancing and not get complacent, as an increase in cases is still expected.

"But every day we have been bending that curve is a good thing," she said.

Three more people have died from the disease, bringing the total number of deaths to 38. Twenty-three outbreaks have been recorded in long-term care homes, up one from Friday.

There are currently 149 people hospitalized, with 68 people in intensive care. A total of 704 people in the province have recovered.

On Saturday, the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers said two inmates had tested positive for the virus at the Mission Institution.

That follows one confirmed case, the first outbreak of COVID-19 at a jail in B.C. on Thursday, at the Okanagan Correctional Centre near Oliver, B.C.

Henry said there were no additional confirmed infections at the facility on Saturday.

Getting around getting harder

Metro Vancouver's transportation authority announced Saturday it is further reducing service on bus, SeaBus and West Coast Express routes because of plunging ridership and financial pressures amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

TransLink said starting Monday, SeaBus service will be reduced to every 30 minutes, all day long. As of Wednesday, West Coast Express Train 4, which leaves Mission at 6:55 a.m. and Waterfront at 5:30 p.m., will be cancelled. And buses with very low ridership will have reduced service.

Vancouver employs 'Parks Champions'

The Vancouver Park Board is starting a new "park champion" program, where staff in bright green vests will remind the public the importance of physical distancing, or staying more than two metres apart to curb the spread of COVID-19.

About 25 staff from recreation facilities are being deployed to busy locations including Stanley Park, Kitsilano, Sunset Beach and English Bay, said park board general manager Malcolm Bromley.

Two weeks ago, the park board closed all public outdoor recreation facilities within beaches and parks, as well as parking lots. Tennis courts and basketball rims have also been locked, and 166 playgrounds closed, he said.

The park champions will be working to stop the remaining problem of people gathering outside.

The consequence of too much alone time

An epidemiologist says social isolation could lead to a range of mental health issues as people face the prospect of living under the current COVID-19 restrictions for months.

Sandro Galea, dean at Boston University's School of Public Health, says the isolation as well as the uncertainty about how long it will last and how the pandemic will play out can all contribute to increased anxiety.

"We humans are ultimately social. We're social creatures and we do need interaction — physical and social — with others. 

This week, public health officials in British Columbia announced that physical distancing orders would remain in place until May.

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 7 p.m. PT on Saturday, Canada had 14,018 confirmed and presumptive cases, with 274 deaths. The provinces and territories that list information about recovered cases have reported 2,785 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 for test results. 

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.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story incorrectly stated there were two COVID-19 cases at the Okanagan Correctional Centre. In fact, testing has only found one case.
    Apr 05, 2020 2:12 PM PT

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