British Columbia

B.C. health officials announce 7 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 more death

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said seven more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C. One more death was reported Tuesday afternoon.

The province says there are now 2,360 confirmed COVID-19 cases in B.C. and 131 deaths

Provincial Health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, left, and Health Minister Adrian Dix provided an update on B.C.'s COVID-19 cases Tuesday. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported seven new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Tuesday afternoon.

One more death was also reported, a resident of a long-term care home in the Fraser Health region.

As of Tuesday, B.C. had 2,360 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 131 deaths. So far, 1,832 people have recovered from the illness.

Across the province, 63 people are in hospital suffering from COVID-19, 16 of them in intensive care.

There were no new community outbreaks reported Tuesday. 

'We need to maintain control'

Henry acknowledged Tuesday that many British Columbians have fears about new spikes in cases as the province reopens and restrictions are pulled back.

She said the province was going slowly as those restrictions are lifted and encouraged all British Columbians to change their behaviour slowly as well.

"We can safely restart our province," Henry said. "It is incredibly important that the heart of that is controlling this virus. We need to maintain control of COVID-19."

Henry said the province has launched a provincewide survey about COVID-19 to hear about people's experiences and actions during the health emergency. 

Officials want to better understand some of the unintended consequences of the emergency, she said. The survey responses will help guide the province's approach in the coming weeks and months.

The survey also provides an opportunity for people to express interest in other studies, including a serology blood testing study to determine immunity in the province and a study on contact-tracing technology.

The survey is available on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website.

Conspiracies, misinformation

Henry said health officials have been challenged by the growth of conspiracy theories and misinformation spreading largely online about the coronavirus.

She suggested that many people are feeling fear and anxiety at this time and are desperate for answers. Isolation could lead people to view information less critically.

"It behooves all of us to take a deep breath," Henry said, adding any "out there" information deserves skepticism. She suggested anyone looking for coronavirus information should start with Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the BCCDC websites.

A person holds a sign at a protest against COVID-19-related restrictions in Ontario. In B.C., protests against government orders aimed to control the spread of the coronavirus have also been seen. (Mateo Garcia-Tremblay/CBC)

Health Minister Adrian Dix encouraged people to respect coronavirus victims and their families by not spreading false information but added he doesn't believe many people are doing that.

"I don't think the amount of attention that is paid to a very small number of people in B.C., frankly, is necessarily warranted," he said.

Easing coming

The provincial government announced its plans last Wednesday for a gradual reopening of the economy, with some new easing coming this weekend.

However, officials have warned easing up too much on any of the disciplined action British Columbians have taken so far against the pandemic could erase hard won gains. 

The Vancouver Park Board said Monday it will extend the closure of parking lots at many parks and beaches after a decrease in public compliance with physical distancing over the weekend.

B.C. health officials have also expressed concerns about the reopening of the U.S.-Canada border

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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