British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on April 16, 2020

Seventy-eight people have now died of COVID-19 in B.C., and 1,575 have had confirmed cases of the disease.

14 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the province for a total 1,575 cases; 78 people have died in total

Major streets are empty in Vancouver amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • A written statement from the province announced 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon.
  • B.C. now has 1,575 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • There have been three more deaths in the past 24 hours, and a total of 78 people have died.
  • At least 983 people have recovered from their illness.
  • As of Wednesday, 120 COVID-19 patients were in hospital, including 56 in intensive care. 
  • Premier John Horgan has extended the provincial state of emergency by two weeks.

Seventy-eight people have now died of COVID-19 in B.C., and 1,575 have had confirmed cases of the disease.

As of Thursday evening, there were 120 patients in hospital with the novel coronavirus, including 56 in intensive care. Officials said 983 people have now recovered, though Vancouver Coastal Health has not updated its number of recoveries since April 8.

While B.C. has kept hospitalizations and confirmed cases to manageable levels so far, officials are warning the public that a return to normal life is still a long time away.

"It's important for us to be patient and to be kind to each other. It is going to be some weeks before we can let up even a little bit," provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Wednesday.

Watch: Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about the importance of supporting each other

'We are not at the point where we can let up,' says Dr. Bonnie Henry

1 year ago
1:24
B.C's provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, acknowledges that uncertainty about the future can be challenging for people to hear, but in order to get through the COVID-19 outbreak, the public needs to do its best to support one another. 1:24

The province said in a statement Thursday that there have been two new outbreaks within the last day — one in the Kootenay Street Village long-term care facility in Cranbrook, B.C., and in an acute care unit at Ridge Meadows Hospital in Maple Ridge. 

Four facilities where the outbreak had been declared over have new cases. 

Altogether, 26 long-term care homes and assisted living facilities have outbreaks, along with one acute care unit.

Federal officials say 61 cases have been confirmed at Mission Institution, a federal prison in the Fraser Valley. Correctional Service Canada confirmed one inmate died of COVID-19 complications at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on Wednesday. 

The federal government agency said this is the first such death at one of its correctional institutions. The identity of the inmate has not yet been released. The B.C. Coroners Service is investigating. 

"Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family of the deceased during this difficult time," said Bill Blair, the federal minister of public safety and emergency preparedness.

On Thursday, Fraser Health also confirmed one case of COVID-19 in a staff member at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre. There is still one COVID-19 case at the provincial Okanagan Correctional Centre.

A total of 26 people have been infected at Bylands Nurseries in West Kelowna. 

Don't skip appointments, Henry says

Henry said Wednesday she has heard some concerns from people with non-COVID health concerns who are reluctant to go to hospital.

She said despite the pandemic, British Columbians should not to ignore urgent medical matters or skip scheduled vaccinations — especially vaccinations for children.

"Please be reassured that these services are still available and it is still incredibly important to protect our children from the other infectious diseases that we know can spread in our communities," Henry said.

Homeless camp asks for help, aquarium seeks funding

A long-time Victoria homeless advocate says volunteers and supplies are desperately needed at Topaz Park where 100 people are living.

Don Evans, the former CEO of the outreach society Our Place, asked anyone with social work, security or health-care experience to apply online to help keep the camp running in an orderly fashion: keeping campers from encroaching on the neighbourhood, making sure everyone gets the services they need and ensuring physical distancing is being followed as per public health orders.

The Vancouver Aquarium is looking for help of a different kind: CEO Lasse Gustavsson says without financial aid it could shut down permanently within several months. 

The Stanley Park attraction has lost more than $3 million since it closed due to the pandemic on March 17.

It has already laid off 60 per cent of its staff but it costs $1 million per month to feed and care for the 70,000 animals housed there.

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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 6 p.m. PT on Thursday, Canada had 30,106 presumptive and confirmed coronavirus cases. A tally of COVID-19 deaths maintained by CBC News has recorded 1,250 deaths in Canada, with another two coronavirus-related deaths abroad.

The numbers 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 or 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

Find information about COVID-19 from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Non-medical information about COVID-19 is available in B.C. from 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. PT, seven days a week at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).

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.

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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