British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on April 30, 2020

Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 25 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Two more people have died of the disease, she said.

The Terry Fox Run will be 'virtual' this September, organizer says

A woman in a mask walks past the Vancouver Public Library's Joe Fortes branch on Wednesday. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • Dr. Bonnie Henry announces two more COVID-19 deaths in B.C., bringing total to 111.
  • A total of 2,112 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in B.C. as of Thursday afternoon.
  • 82 people are in hospital, including 30 in intensive care.
  • 1,322 people have recovered.
  • Workers from four poultry plants in the Lower Mainland have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • B.C.'s state of emergency has been extended by two weeks.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry acknowledged the 100-day anniversary of B.C.'s first provincial statement on what was then called the "novel coronavirus" Thursday.

Henry announced Thursday that 25 new cases of COVID-19 were detected within the last 24 hours in B.C. and two more people had died: a senior living in a long-term care home and a person who died in hospital in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

Henry said new details about the province's path forward would be revealed by Premier John Horgan next week.

In the meantime, she said, British Columbians need to remain "champions" of physical distancing, handwashing and staying connected at a distance to vulnerable people.

"Our lives, our businesses, our communities have dramatically changed in [the] last 100 days," Henry said.

"One thing really has stayed the same, and that is the unwavering commitment of everybody here in British Columbia to work together and to keep our firewall strong."

In all, B.C. has now confirmed 2,112 cases of COVID-19 and 111 people have died of the disease. As of Thursday afternoon, there were 82 patients in hospital, including 30 in intensive care. In all, 1,322 people have recovered.

There are 21 active outbreaks at long-term care centres and three in acute care units of Lower Mainland hospitals. COVID-19 has been detected in 256 residents of long-term care homes and 153 staff.

On Wednesday, Horgan announced that he is extending B.C.'s state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic for another two weeks.

Terry Fox Run going virtual

Terry Fox events will go ahead in September, but not in the way organizers predicted.

Fred Fox, Terry Fox's older brother and manager of supporter relations for the Terry Fox Foundation, said Terry Fox runs across Canada will be "virtual" in 2020.

Planning for the September fundraisers in communities across Canada would normally be getting underway in April and May, Fox said.

Because physical distancing guidelines may still be in place in September, the foundation had to make crucial decisions now.

"It's going to be different. We're not going to be gathering in big groups," Fox said. "People are still going to want to participate and support cancer research.

"Terry was an innovator... It was all about raising money for cancer research. Terry would be challenging us in this different time to be doing the same thing."

Details are not clear for what those runs will look like yet, Fox said, but could include participants walking or running in their communities or local parks.

Support for workers

On Wednesday, positive cases were confirmed in workers at the Sofina Foods Lilydale plant in Port Coquitlam and Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry in Yarrow. That's in addition to 92 cases connected to oubreaks at Superior Poultry Processors in Coquitlam and United Poultry in Vancouver.

The outbreaks among workers at four B.C. poultry plants have raised concerns about what supports are in place to keep employees from putting themselves and their co-workers at risk.

Thursday morning, federal environment minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the government brought in the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to ensure that people don't have to go to work sick, but acknowledge that gaps still exist.

"There are broader questions around income support that have been laid bare by this pandemic," he said in an interview on CBC's The Early Edition. "We have an economy that has evolved in a certain way, where the gig economy has many, many, many more people who don't have access or easy access to traditional supports like employment insurance."

According to Wilkinson, the federal government estimates it's already spent close to $25 billion in aid to Canadians affected by the crisis.

Climate-change concerns 

The environment minister says the COVID-19 pandemic is also raising the need to address other crises, like climate change.

"We are going to have to reflect on how we continue to move forward to ensure [that] we are addressing our greenhouse gas emissions and working with our international partners to ensure that the world is addressing that," he said. "There is a looming crisis that is coming at us down the train tracks and it is going to be something that is going to cause enormous economic and personal dislocation."

The lack of human activity due to physical distancing restrictions has led to a reduction in emissions around the world, but some worry that as provinces begin to move toward lifting restrictions and reopening the economy, it could lead to a sudden spike in emissions.

Wilkinson believes that with advancements in renewable energy technologies, there is no need to see a spike in Canada.

"Renewable energy is increasingly cost competitive relative to other forms of energy," he said. "There are all kinds of technological solutions that have been developed over the course of the past couple of decades that are ready and we are able to implement."

Help for B.C. forestry industry

Premier John Horgan said in a news release the government will defer stumpage fees for the next three months to help forest companies with their financial liquidity during the crisis.

Stumpage is the fee forest operators pay the province to harvest, buy or sell trees from Crown land.

The government says the fee deferral leaves eligible companies with about $80 million to pay employees, contractors and other bills.

B.C.'s forest industry was struggling prior to the pandemic. Hundreds of workers had been laid off and numerous mills had closed in the Interior due to high operating costs and low timber prices.

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 Thursday at 8:30 a.m. PT, Canada had 52,057 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 3,133 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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