British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on April 27, 2020

On Monday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 50 new cases over a 48-hour period.

Province has now seen 1,998 confirmed cases and 103 deaths

City workers wearing PPE clean Hastings street in downtown eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia on Thursday, April 23, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • The province confirmed 50 new cases of COVID-19 since Saturday for a total of 1,998 in B.C.
  • 3 new deaths for a total of 103 in B.C.
  • 118 cases linked to the federally-run Mission Institution.
  •  59 cases linked to two Metro Vancouver poultry plants.
  • Fraser Health has closed the poultry plant in Coquitlam.
  • Applications open today for a $73-billion federal wage subsidy program to help businesses.
  • An outbreak at the Langley Lodge long-term care facility was declared over by Fraser Health, however, the authority declared two new long-term facility outbreaks at Valhaven Home and MSA Manor, both in Abbotsford.
  • On Sunday, British Columbia's seniors advocate said she and Henry are looking at "safely" opening up care homes to some form of visits from family members.
  • She also announced an additional $500,000 to help seniors and the caregivers who support them. 

On Monday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 50 new cases over a 48-hour period.

The number of patients in hospital is now at 97, with 36 people in critical care. The province has confirmed 1,998 cases, of which 1,190 have fully recovered.

Henry announced three new deaths on Monday, for a total of 103 deaths related to COVID-19 in B.C.

Poultry plant outbreaks

Two Metro Vancouver poultry plants are at the centre of B.C.'s COVID-19 crisis after facility staff at both sites tested positive.

Fraser Health announced Monday it has closed a poultry plant in Coquitlam following an outbreak among staff at the facility.

So far, two employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and all employees have been screened.

Fraser Health says there will be no recall of chicken products from this plant because there is no evidence to suggest that food is a likely source of transmission, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. 

New long-term care outbreaks

The health authority, in a statement, also declared one long-term facility outbreak over, at Langley Lodge. It said there are no more COVID-19 cases at that site.

Two new outbreaks were declared, however, at Valhaven Home and MSA Manor, both in Abbotsford.

At Valhaven, the health authority said, a resident was diagnosed with the disease. At MSA, a staff member was diagnosed.

Both are now in isolation at home, the statement said.

On a call with reporters, Dr. Martin Lavoie, Fraser Health's chief medical health officer, said the authority was aware of a "few" situations where staff of long-term care homes were coming into work while showing mild symptoms of what could potentially be COVID-19.

"When we identify that, it is a gap in our measures," Lavoie said. "It is important to only go to work if you're feeling well and that you have no symptoms whatsoever that could potentially be of COVID-19."

Lavoie would not provide details of where these situations occurred.

Federal wage subsidy

Applications opened today for a $73-billion federal wage subsidy program to help businesses that have seen a drop in revenue due to COVID-19.

The support program covers up to 75 per cent of wages for businesses affected by COVID-19. All-sized businesses, charities and non-profits are eligible if they have had a drop in revenue of at least 30 per cent. The subsidy is available for three months, retroactive to March 15, and provides up to $847 a week per employee.

On Sunday, seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie said she and Henry are looking at "safely" opening up care homes to some form of visits from family members.

She also announced $500,000 in funding will go to the Family Caregivers of British Columbia, a non-profit that supports seniors and caregivers. The funding will expand the help line and expand the organization's virtual tool kit. 

Mackenzie says there are hundreds of thousands of people in the province who provide support for seniors so they can remain at home, including at least 30,000 people who provide more intense care like bathing and feeding. 

Many of the measures put in place to combat COVID-19 have inadvertently impeded many improvements made for seniors in the province, she said. 

Top COVID-19 stories today

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, Canada had 46,648 confirmed COVID-19 cases. A CBC News tally of coronavirus-related deaths, which is based on provincial data, local public health information and CBC reporting, put the death toll at 2,673 in Canada, plus two 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

With files from the Canadian Press

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