British Columbia

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

B.C.'s Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth announced on Sunday that the province will issue $2,000 tickets for price gouging and for people who don't self-quarantine when they return from travelling.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced three new coronavirus deaths on Saturday

THE LATEST:

  • B.C.'s minister of public safety has enabled police to issue $2,000 fines for people engaged in price gouging and reselling of medical supplies.
  • 14 people were arrested after occupying a Vancouver elementary school for "emergency housing" during the pandemic. 
  • The Vancouver Island MusicFest is officially postponed. 
  • The next update from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is Monday at 3 p.m.
  • As of Saturday, B.C. has 1,647 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • 81 people have died of the disease.
  • 987 patients have recovered. 
  • 115 people are in hospital with COVID-19, including 54 in intensive care.

B.C.'s Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth announced on Sunday morning that he has has enabled police to issue $2,000 fines for people engaged in price gouging and reselling of medical supplies.

Farnworth said Consumer Protection B.C. had gotten more than 800 reports complaining about price gouging. 

People who fail to self-quarantine after returning from travel can also face fines. 

Farnworth said that with most people complying with physical distancing, there is no plan to close down public spaces at beaches and in parks.

School break-in ends with arrests

Vancouver police arrested 14 people after a group of community members of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside broke into Lord Strathcona Elementary School on Saturday evening to use it for what they called "emergency housing."

Spokespeople for the group said the action was taken because it was impossible for thousands of homeless people to follow the provincial government's instructions to stay home amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Police said they will pursue charges of break-and-enter against the individuals arrested. 

Island music festival cancelled

On Sunday, the Vancouver Island MusicFest announced "with deep regret" that the event is postponed because of COVID-19. 

"It's simply too risky for all of us," the festival wrote in an email. 

The festival, which takes place in the Comox Valley, was scheduled for July 10 to 12.  

The latest COVID-19 numbers

As of Saturday, B.C. had 1,647 confirmed cases of the virus and 81 people had died. A total of 987 people have recovered and 115 people are in hospital, including 54 in intensive care.

The next update on the number of new COVID-19 cases will be Monday afternoon.

British Columbians have been given a glimmer of hope after another week without significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations or deaths. 

But on Saturday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said B.C. must find a "sweet spot" for increasing social interactions over the summer, and that "realistically, there will be no major events this summer."

The province says that if the number of people with active novel coronavirus infections continues on its downward trend, some currently restricted activities could be allowed as early as a month from now.

Until then, officials say British Columbians can't let up on strict physical distancing measures and diligent hand washing to halt the spread of 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

As of Sunday morning, Canada had 33,383 confirmed coronavirus cases. A tally of COVID-19 deaths maintained by CBC News has recorded 1,529 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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