British Columbia

What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on May 5, 2020

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says 8 news cases have been logged in B.C.

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces 8 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C.

A woman buys herbal products through a plastic protective screen in Vancouver's Chinatown. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

THE LATEST:

  • 8 new cases in B.C. in the last 24 hours.
  • Total of 2,232 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in B.C. as of Tuesday afternoon. 
  • 4 more people have died, bringing total deaths to 121.
  • 78 COVID-19 patients are in hospital, including 21 in intensive care.
  • New outbreaks declared at Evergreen House, Ridge Meadows Hospital and Richmond Hospital.
  • Outbreak at Lynn Valley Care Centre declared over.

B.C. logged only eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours but four more people have died, bringing the total number of deaths to 121.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.

New outbreaks were also declared at North Vancouver's Evergreen House, a care home, and two acute care centres: Ridge Meadows Hospital and Richmond Hospital.

There are 22 outbreaks in long-term care and assisted living facilities as of Tuesday.

However, the outbreak at Lynn Valley Care Centre, one of the first care homes hit hard by the virus, is officially over.

While B.C. has successfully "put the brakes" on the virus and reopening plans are set to be announced, "we are not through this yet," warned Henry.

"So please don't start planning your play dates and expanding your bubble too soon."

Henry said Monday provincial authorities are working under the assumption that B.C. is currently around 30 per cent of regular interactions but that the virus can be kept in check if interactions are kept below 60 per cent going forward.

"In New Zealand, they have this concept of 'now, you can double your bubble.' That's the kind of thing we think about now, too," Henry told CBC's The Early Edition on Tuesday morning, referring to increasing the size of social circles.

The latest round of COVID-19 data for B.C., released Monday, revealed the spread of the virus has been declining since physical distancing measures were introduced and schools, restaurants and bars were closed in mid-March.

Henry, along with Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix, are set to announce B.C.'s plans to begin easing restrictions on Wednesday. 

CBC News has learned there are three key takeaways. Restrictions are not expected to change until at least mid-May.

'Double your bubble' with discretion, Henry says

Overall, the focus will be on giving the public broad rules for how it can safely practise a "new normal" until a vaccine for COVID-19 is found. Safe ways to increase social and economic contacts will form the basics of the plan, but the public shouldn't necessarily expect a detailed list of what they can and cannot do.

"It's absolutely going to have to be a unique look at our own situations," said Henry, referring to the "double your bubble" concept.

"If we have people that are in our circle that are more at risk of having severe illness, particularly our seniors and elders, we need to take measures to protect them," she continued.

WATCH: Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. is at "the end of the beginning of this pandemic."

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As an example, Henry suggested people might be able to see a friend for dinner or take kids to visit grandparents, but they'll have to weigh risk and carefully decide whether it would be a safe choice.

"If my grandfather has heart disease ... or my grandmother is going through cancer treatment, we should think about whether we want to include them in our bubble," Henry said.

"For every person that we interact with, we're exposed to the people that they've interacted with. So, it's a concept that we're not making that bubble too big."

Henry said the numbers from Tuesday were further reason for hope but cautions moving forward too quickly could undo the sacrifices that have been made.

Financial aid for agriculture sector

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $252-million aid package Tuesday for Canada's agriculture and food industries.

He said $77 million of that money will go to measures to keep workers in food processing safe with protective equipment and by supporting physical distancing in workplaces.

Meat-packing plants, in particular, have seen large coronavirus outbreaks, including three poultry processors in B.C.

Henry said on Tuesday, there were 55 confirmed positive cases at Superior Poultry in Coquitlam and 35 at United Poultry in Vancouver.

Seven cases were detected at Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry.

The plant was closed for three days but after implementing a plan to reduce the risk of the virus among employees, it has now reopened at a reduced capacity.

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 3:30 p.m. PT, Canada had 62,046 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19. Provinces and territories listed 27,006 of those as either recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC's reporting put the COVID-19-related death toll in Canada at 4,166, plus two known deaths of Canadians 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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