British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on April 17, 2020

British Columbians were given an update on what authorities are seeing in the COVID-19 pandemic with the release of new statistical models on Friday morning. An update later in the noted 43 new cases but no new deaths.

Province records 43 new cases, no new deaths in last 24 hours

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry released new COIVD-19 modelling data for B.C. on the morning of April 17. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

UPDATE: On Friday afternoon, the province issued a revision to its COVID-19 numbers from Thursday, April 16 related to long-term care homes. The copy that follows reflects those changes, with a correction at the bottom.


  • Dr. Bonnie Henry announces: "We have flattened that curve," after revealing new modelling of B.C.'s COVID-19  situation.
  • As of Friday afternoon, B.C. has confirmed 1,618 cases of COVID-19.
  • 78 people have died of the disease.
  • 966 patients have recovered. This number is lower than previous figures and reflects new criteria from Vancouver Coastal Health.
  • 119 people are in hospital with COVID-19, including 52 in intensive care.

The COVID-19 curve is flattening in B.C. The worst-case scenarios did not come to pass and measures to limit disease transmission have been effective.

Those were some of the takeaways from a briefing led by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix Friday morning where updated modelling of B.C.'s COVID-19 situation was shown to the public.

Henry said some restrictions could be lifted next month if the progress continues but she also said British Columbians should not expect life to return to pre-COVID days anytime soon.

"Our new normal for the coming months, and it may be some time, is going to be modifications of what we're seeing right now," Henry said.

"We must hold that line."

A statement from the province later Friday said B.C. recorded 43 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths in the last 24 hours.

As of Friday afternoon, the province has had 1,618 test-positive cases of the illness and 78 deaths.

At least 966 people have recovered from COVID-19, a decrease from the 983 reported one day earlier. That change reflects new criteria used by Vancouver Coastal Health for someone to be considered recovered, the province said 

A total of 119 patients are currently in hospital, including 52 in intensive care. 

There are ongoing outbreaks at 20 long-term care homes, two provincial correctional centres and one federal prison. There have been no new outbreaks in the past day.

The Mission Institution, the federal prison, has seen 63 people test positive for the novel coronavirus, six of whom are in hospital. One person has died in relation to that outbreak.

There is also an outbreak in an acute care ward at Ridge Meadows Hospital.

Scenarios presented

Among the slides Henry and Dix showed to the public were various scenarios of increases of person-to-person contact limitations extending into June and how those could impact hospitalizations.

An employee of the Real Canadian Superstore pushes shopping cars in the parking lot of Vancouver's Grandview Highway location on Thursday. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

She said until a vaccine is developed, British Columbians will need to walk the line between managing transmissions and avoiding the "unintended consequences" of the restrictions on society.

"We're a long way from done," Dix said.

Examples of activities that could return in a few weeks include elective surgeries, as well as changes that would help reactivate sectors of the economy. Some activities in schools could resume, but no decision has been made on whether that will happen before the end of the academic year.  

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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 a.m. PT on Thursday, Canada had 30,106 confirmed coronavirus cases. A tally of COVID-19 deaths maintained by CBC News has recorded 1,274 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


  • An earlier version of this story said, based on a written statement from the B.C. government, new cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed at four long-term care homes whose outbreaks were previously declared over. The province said Friday the reactivations were a mistake due to a misinterpretation of a change to data reporting formats.
    Apr 17, 2020 4:24 PM PT


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