British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on March 28, 2020

British Columbia continues to show a glimmer of hope that drastic physical distancing measures may be helping to slow the spread of COVID-19. Still 92 new cases were announced on Saturday in B.C.

The latest news about the coronavirus pandemic in B.C.

Vancouver's No5 Orange strip club displays a sign promoting hope amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • B.C. has recorded 1 new death and 92 new cases, bringing provincial total to 884.
  • 45 per cent of those who have contracted the coronavirus — 396 people — have recovered. 
  • Province confirms it has tested experimental treatments in one facility.
  • Justin Trudeau announced new domestic travel restrictions for those showing coronavirus symptoms.
  • Fruit growers are worried that a lack of workers may lead to a shortage of produce.
  • Animals shelters are recording a rise in pet adoptions.

British Columbia continues to show a glimmer of hope that drastic physical distancing measures may be helping to slow the spread of COVID-19.

On Saturday provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said although the number of new cases on Saturday was one of the largest since the outbreak began, the percentage rate of growth has decreased to about 10 per cent. 

But she warned that a severe outbreak is still possible if people don't continue to follow advice from health officials. 

"We must stay apart with our physical distancing. We must stay home if we're ill. We must be united in this and 100 per cent committed until we flatten this curve for good," she said.

There is now a total of 884 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. 45 per cent of those who have contracted the coronavirus — 396 people — who have recovered. 

The provincial health officer also confirmed that B.C. has been using anti-malarial and anti-viral AIDS drugs in trials at one facility, although she didn't confirm where. 

New domestic travel restrictions

Earlier on Saturday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new domestic travel restrictions to anyone showing signs of the virus, which include a cough, fever and difficulty breathing.

As of Monday at noon, domestic travel by plane or train will be off the table for anyone exhibiting those symptoms, as part of additional measures to slow the spread of the COVID-19 illness across the country.

Back in B.C., fruit growers say they're worried that a lack of workers due to COVID-19 will lead to a produce shortage.

The general manager of the B.C. Fruit Growers' Association says about 4,500 migrant workers are needed every year to work Okanagan fields and orchards.

While those workers are permitted to come into Canada during the virus pandemic, the logistics of getting them here will be a challenge because of border closures and reduced airline service.

Pet adoptions on the rise

Meanwhile, pet shelters say adoption is on the rise as more people stay home

The B.C. SPCA says it's also trying to make space for the inevitable wave of dogs, cats and other pets in need of temporary shelter when their owners fall ill from the fast-moving coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

People across the province have also appear to have shown an increased interest in gardening

Some of the interest isn't fuelled solely by a desire for leisure. While governments have said food supplies are secure, empty grocery stores shelves have had people worried about a shortage of food staples.

How have you been affected by the coronavirus? Let us know by emailing covid@cbc.ca and include "personal story" in your subject line.

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 Saturday Canada had a total of 5,655 confirmed and presumptive cases, with 61 deaths. To date, provinces have listed 508 cases as recovered or resolved. (Not all provinces are listing that information.)

For a look at what's happening in other provinces and the territories, 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.
  • Unless you're already infected, masks won't help you.
  • 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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