British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on April 7, 2020

Health officials are urging British Columbians to stick with physical distancing measures, as the evidence mounts suggesting B.C. is starting to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

25 new confirmed cases announced Tuesday, bringing province's total to 1,291

Sunbathers practise physical distancing at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • A total of 1,291 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in B.C.
  • 805 of those cases have recovered from the illness.
  • As of Tuesday afternoon, 138 patients were hospitalized, including 66 in intensive care.
  • 43 people have died.
  • 23 long-term care homes now have cases.
  • The Vancouver Park Board is banning cars from Stanley Park and encouraging cyclists to stay off the seawall.

Health officials are urging British Columbians to stick with physical distancing measures, as the evidence mounts suggesting B.C. is starting to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

The number of patients hospitalized fell to 138 on Tuesday, down from 149 on Saturday. However, four new deaths have been recorded, bringing the province's total to 43.

And the daily rate of new confirmed cases appears to have slowed. On Tuesday, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 25 new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed patients to 1,291 to date, with 805 recovered.

With several religious holidays approaching, including Easter, Passover, Ramadan and Vaisakhi, Henry once again urged British Columbians to observe their faiths through virtual celebrations.

"Please, now is the time to pay attention to our seniors and our elders," Henry said. "We protect them by connecting safely from a distance."

  • If you have recovered from COVID-19 and want to share your experience, please email us at impact@cbc.ca.

On Tuesday morning the Vancouver Park Board announced it is banning cars from Stanley Park effective Wednesday. Cyclists are being asked to start using Stanley Park Drive, which will be entirely car-free, and avoid the seawall to put more space between themselves and pedestrians.

More than 25 staff have been assigned to crowded areas of the park to remind people to stay two metres apart. Employees have issued 1,600 warnings to date, for people who aren't staying far enough away from others in public.

Breaking the chains of transmission

Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix have cautioned against easing up on strict physical distancing measures that have kept most British Columbians at home for the past few weeks.

"We have to continue to break these chains of transmission. We have to continue to work very hard as a community and a health system, especially in the weeks to come," Dix told CBC's The Early Edition on Tuesday.

"So, on one hand there's positive news ... on the other hand, we have 39 deaths and every day there's a death from this is a very, very sad day for everybody."

The most recent death in B.C. was a man in his 40s who died outside of hospital, marking one of the province's youngest deaths and only the second in the community. 

The B.C. Coroners Service is investigating, as it investigates any sudden or unexpected death in the province.

"It's an extraordinarily sad case and difficult case. All of these, every single one of them, is reviewed — both for the implications for COVID-19 and the implications for health care," said Dix.

"In cases such as this, which is different than other cases, we need to learn. We need to see, if anything, what we could have done better in responding to the case. We owe that both to the family of the person who died and to the whole system."

Dix said for privacy reasons he could not confirm whether the patient was in contact with health-care professionals before his death.

On Monday, Henry said she also continues to be concerned about new community outbreaks popping up, including in places like long-term care homes and correctional facilities. She has confirmed that a new outbreak had been detected at Mission Institution.

"These hotspots are concerning. They can quickly challenge our response," Henry said. "We must be steadfast in holding the line."

The Vancouver Park Board is announcing new measures Tuesday morning to encourage physical distancing at Stanley Park. The park is one of the city's biggest tourist attractions, drawing millions of visitors every year.

800K applications for CERB

The Canada Revenue Agency its opening applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) on Tuesday to those born in April, May and June.

The agency said roughly 800,000 people applied after applications opened for the first time on Monday.

More than two million Canadians lost their jobs in the last half of March as businesses across the country were forced to close or reduce their operations to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

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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

In Canada, all provinces and territories except Nunavut have cases of COVID-19, with the total known case count surpassing 16,660. Quebec and Ontario have been hardest hit, followed by Alberta and British Columbia. Nova Scotia on Tuesday reported its first COVID-19-related death.

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. 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.

With files from The Canadian Press

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