British Columbia

New COVID-19 cases in B.C. drop to 8, but health officials report 4 new deaths

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Tuesday only 8 new cases of COVID-19 had been detected in the last 24 hours in B.C., although she said four more people had died of the disease.

COVID-19 outbreak at Lynn Valley Care Centre, B.C.'s 1st infected long-term care home, declared over

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provided an update on the coronavirus pandemic in British Columbia. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Tuesday only eight new cases of COVID-19 had been detected in the last 24 hours in B.C., although she said four more people had died of the disease.

There was more good news in Tuesday's daily briefing: after 60 days, B.C.'s first COVID-19 outbreak at a long-term care home is officially over.

Henry declared an end to the outbreak at the Lynn Valley Centre in North Vancouver that was first announced March 6.

In that time, Vancouver Coastal Health said, 76 residents and staff tested positive for the disease and 20 residents died.

As of Tuesday, there have been 2,232 confirmed COVID-19 cases in B.C. and 121 people have died of the novel coronavirus.

There were 78 COVID-19 patients in hospital, 21 of whom are in intensive care. The province says 1,472 people have fully recovered. 

"We have put the brakes on it for sure... but we have not yet stopped this train," Henry said. "There's a long way to go for all of us, both here in B.C., in Canada and around the world."

Other outbreaks

Vancouver Coastal Health said in an email the Lynn Valley outbreak was declared over after two incubation periods, a total of 28 days since the last day any case in the facility was infectious and without any new cases identified.

Three new outbreaks were declared Tuesday: one at Evergreen House, a long-term care home in North Vancouver; and two in acute care settings at Ridge Meadows and Richmond hospitals.

One of the chicken processing plants hit by an outbreak, Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry in Chilliwack, has now reopened. There are seven cases connected to that facility.

Henry said there are currently 22 long-term care homes in B.C. with COVID-19 outbreaks.

Little evidence children affected

Henry was asked by a reporter Tuesday about how guidance for people who work with children can be clearer.

She said evidence is growing that children are "not very affected" by COVID-19 and they aren't very infectious to adults. She said guidance will be provided to help keep child-care providers and early childhood educators safe on the job. 

Children won't be expected to wear masks, she said, but will likely be in smaller numbers.

"That physical distancing concept is not relevant, really, for children," Henry said.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said another update on B.C.'s COVID-19 case numbers would be provided ahead of remarks by Premier John Horgan Wednesday. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

No contact-tracing app for B.C. yet

Henry said while "everybody and their dog'' has come up with some kind of contact-tracing app for COVID-19, the province hasn't found any that would meet its needs.

She said B.C. is trying to find the right technical support for a potential app but is also looking at how it could augment current technology rather than coming up with something new.

Henry's 'ideal' summer

Henry also said while an "ideal" summer would mean no new cases of COVID-19, that is unlikely. She said the focus will be on preventing new clusters from becoming large outbreaks and making sure businesses are operating in a safe way.

And most of all, it means finding summer fun close to home.

Watch as provincial health officer describes an 'ideal summer' for British Columbians:

'We're going to have to find our joy and our fun within our own neighbourhoods,' says B.C.'s provincial health officer. 1:54

Grim milestone

As of Tuesday afternoon, Canada crossed the grim milestone of over 4,000 coronavirus deaths. There have been over 62,000 confirmed cases of the disease across the country in every province and territory except Nunavut. 

Quebec has been the hardest hit province, with 33,417 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,398 deaths.

However, according to Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, the daily increase of cases in Canada has slowed to about three per cent.

Provinces are going ahead with plans to ease restrictions, including B.C.

Premier John Horgan says details on B.C.'s plans to reopen will be unveiled Wednesday

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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