British Columbia

B.C. records 1 more death from COVID-19, bringing the total to 87

Another senior living in long-term care has died of COVID-19, bringing the total deaths linked to the disease in 87.

25 new cases confirmed, including some workers connected to a poultry plant in Vancouver

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provided an updated Tuesday on B.C.'s latest COVID-19 numbers. (MIke McArthur/CBC)

Another senior living in long-term care has died of COVID-19, bringing the total deaths linked to the disease in 87.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Tuesday that B.C. has confirmed 25 more cases of COVID-19, for a total of 1,724. One hundred and nine people are currently hospitalized, including 51 in intensive care.

Henry said the latest confirmed cases include some, but not all, of the 28 workers at Vancouver's United Poultry plant who have tested positive for the disease. She said other processing plants owned by the same company will be inspected, but the Vancouver plant has been shut down.

Henry also addressed fears about the safety of United Poultry products.

"We don't have any evidence that COVID-19 can be spread from meat," she said, adding that it's always important to be careful with hygiene when dealing with poultry products.

So far, 1,041 people have recovered from the disease in B.C.

There are 20 active outbreaks in long-term care homes, and 319 residents and workers have tested positive for COVID-19. Another case has been confirmed at Mission Institution for a total 76 people infected with the virus to date, including 65 federal inmates. Henry said there are no new cases connected to the outbreak at the Kearl Lake oilsands project in northern Alberta.

Henry said she understands how difficult this time has been for everyone in British Columbia, and it's essential to make careful, considered decisions about how and when to lift COVID-related restrictions on daily life.

Until that happens, she said it's essential for everyone to stay committed to diligent physical distancing and handwashing.

"We need to stay vigilant, we need to stay connected … we need to continue to get through this together," she said.

Henry said that an attitude of "presentee-ism" — people feeling pressure to go to work even if they're sick — has helped feed the spread of COVID-19 in some cases. That mindset is common in the health-care field, she said, but everyone needs to realize that "if you are feeling unwell, stay home."

As the number of hospitalizations linked to the novel coronavirus continues to fall in B.C., Health Minister Adrian Dix said planning is underway for eventually rescheduling non-urgent elective surgeries that were cancelled to make way for COVID-19 patients.

However, he said that making that happen will require a "significant effort," and depends on having an adequate supply of personal protective equipment, assessing wait lists and making sure the curve of infection is flattened.

Earlier Tuesday, restaurant and bar owners started brainstorming ways to open again under strict guidelines, after Dr. Henry asked the industry Monday to come up with innovative ideas to partially reopen in the coming weeks, with physical distancing and no more than 50 patrons at a time in an establishment.

Also Tuesday, Vancouver-based exercise apparel brand Lululemon issued statements apologizing for the actions of one of its art directors who promoted a T-shirt design linking the coronavirus to Chinese takeout that triggered outrage and accusations of racism online. 

With files from Roshini Nair