British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on April 5, 2020

The latest numbers released by the province for COVID-19 infections seem to show that physical distancing and other measures are helping, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says there can be no letting up on prevention measures.

Efforts in B.C. are 'bending the curve,' according to the province's health officer, but risk is still high

Customers line up outside a TD bank in downtown Vancouver earlier this week. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • The province will hold its next COVID-19 briefing at 1:30 p.m. PT on Monday from Victoria.
  • On Saturday, 29 new cases of COVID-19 were announced in British Columbia with three more deaths.
  • 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.
  • 23 long-term care homes now have cases.
  • Two B.C. prisons have cases.

British Columbia's provincial health officer says the province seems to be holding its own against COVID-19, which is why officials are so cautious about people returning from other areas of the world.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said Saturday that repatriation flights from India and elsewhere are in the works and health officials in B.C. are consulting with federal agencies to determine what will happen with those people.

She says the province wants to work with the federal government to ensure that people returning to B.C. are aware of isolation requirements.

Henry said people travelling may not be aware of the rapid changes that have taken place because of COVID-19 or that they need to be isolated for 14 days after travel.

She also said Saturday that the lower number of new cases indicates the curve may be flattening and that she was "heartened" by those numbers. They represent a decrease in acceleration, she said.

'Keep our firewall strong'

Still, Henry warned that residents must continue their commitment to physical distancing and other measures meant to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Henry said B.C. is now in that crucial, two-week period where officials could get a greater understanding of how orders and physical distancing measures are working.

"This is our time to remain unwavering in our commitment. To keep our firewall strong," she said Saturday.

There will be no update from Henry or Health Minister Adrian Dix on Sunday. Their next update will be from Victoria on Monday at 1:30 p.m.

23 long-term care homes

COVID-19 has been diagnosed in another long-term care facility in the province, bringing the total to 23 care homes affected.

Henry said in all but two of those facilities, the outbreak has been limited to one or two positive cases.

Two inmates at a prison in Mission, B.C., have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC).

It says all inmates are in self-isolation to prevent the spread of the virus and cleaning efforts have been ramped up at the minimum security federal institution, which houses about 250 inmates.

The two cases in Mission follow one other announced Thursday at the Okanagan Correctional Centre near Oliver, B.C. It was the first outbreak of COVID-19 at a jail in the province.

TransLink reduction

Starting Monday there will be a further reduction of transit services in Metro Vancouver on bus and SeaBus due to plunging ridership and financial pressures amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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.

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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 3 p.m. PT on Sunday Canada had 15,512 confirmed and presumptive cases, with 307 deaths. The provinces and territories that list information about recovered cases have reported 3,106 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 1:36 PM PT

With files from Canadian Press

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