Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:
“Today, we are providing case updates for two 24-hour reporting periods: March 28 to 29, and March 29 through to midday today.
“In the first reporting period through March 28, we had 16 new cases, for a total of 900 cases in British Columbia.
“In the last 24 hours, we have had a further 70 new cases, for a total of 970 cases in British Columbia.
“This represents 86 new cases since we reported on Saturday.
“Every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19: 472 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 323 are in the Fraser Health region, 67 are in the Island Health region, 94 are in the Interior Health region and 14 are in the Northern Health region.
“We are saddened to report two additional COVID-19 related deaths in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, resulting in a total of 19 COVID-19 related deaths in British Columbia. This includes the first death in the community as a result of COVID-19, as confirmed by the BC Coroners Service.
“There are now COVID-19 cases in 13 long-term care and assisted living homes in British Columbia. All are in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health regions. Public health officials are providing support to implement outbreak protocols at all sites.
“To date, 469 people who had tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered and no longer have isolation requirements.
“Of the total COVID-19 cases, 106 individuals are currently hospitalized, 60 of those in hospital are in intensive care and the remaining people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
“We are at a critical juncture in our provincial COVID-19 response. We have two paths ahead: we will begin to see evidence of a flattened curve or our rates of infection will rise even more.
“Our entire government is doing everything we can to address this challenge, and we need every person in our province to do the same. Let us be united in this singular purpose: in these next two crucial weeks we must be 100% committed to flattening the curve and lessening the devastating impacts of this virus.
“While we are watching the epi-curve closely, we continue with the active readiness of our health-care system to prepare for the potential of a large spike in COVID-19 cases.
“A shipment of one million surgical masks has arrived as we continue to restock our provincial personal-protection equipment supplies.
“We have designated 19 major hospitals across the province as primary COVID-19 facilities to deliver care to the most critically ill patients.
“To maximize capacity at these primary sites, we are also readying a number of off-site treatment centres, such as the Vancouver Convention Centre (with resources for approximately 270 beds) and the new tower at the Royal Columbian Hospital (with resources for approximately 80 beds), to be ready for providing less acute in-patient care. In coming days, other health authorities will begin making similar preparations.
“Additionally, in an effort to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, we are suspending pay parking for the patients, staff and visitors at all health authority owned and operated sites, effective April 1 until further notice. This change makes it easier for individuals to avoid touching screens and buttons at payment kiosks that may have been touched by someone previously, and also supports physical distancing measures. Health authorities will provide details on this change of practice at each of their facilities.
“This week, our K-12 educators and students will begin a new form of learning as in-class education remains suspended. The Keep Learning BC website is a new resource to give families additional support and provide guidance on how to incorporate learning into their everyday activities.
“Equally important for families, as we all adjust to the physical distancing measures, is to use the many tools and creative solutions available to maintain the valuable social connections between students that would otherwise be provided in school settings.”
To see the list of COVID-19 primary hospital facilities, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/modelling-projections
For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community from COVID-19, and to use an online self-assessment tool visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/
The COVID-19 self-assessment app can be downloaded at: https://bc.thrive.health/
For non-health questions about COVID-19 call 1-888-COVID-19 or visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19
For a full listing of provincial health officer orders, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/covid-19-novel-coronavirus
For the latest videos and livestreaming of COVID-19 media availabilities:
on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BCProvincialGovernment/
on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCGovNews
on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/ProvinceofBC
A backgrounder follows.