FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry listens during a news conference regarding the novel coronavirus COVID-19, in Vancouver, on Saturday, March 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Celebrate Easter in a ‘safe way,’ Dr. Henry urges as B.C records 6 new COVID-19 deaths

Top doctor urges British Columbians to halt non-essential travel within the province

B.C. has recorded six new deaths due to COVID-19, Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday (April 2).

The provincial health officer said three of them were at a Vancouver Coastal Health care home, one was in Fraser Health and two were on Vancouver Island.

In a followup email, the health ministry said the Fraser Health and Vancouver Island deaths were in hospital, and the Island Health patients were both in their 80s or 90s.

Henry said the province has also seen its first community outbreak at a prison, the Okanagan Correctional Centre.

That outbreak was “something we were concerned about and planning for,” she said.

READ MORE: Inmate at Okanagan Correctional Centre tests positive for COVID-19

Henry said there were 55 new cases across the province, leading the total number of cases to 1,121. Of those total cases, 641 have recovered – a rate of 57 per cent. The province now stands at 31 deaths and 449 active cases, with 44,639 tests completed. There are 21 care facilities with outbreaks. Henry said the hospitalization rate in B.C. is between 16 and 20 per cent for novel coronavirus cases.

There are currently 149 people hospitalized with COVID-19 , 68 of them in intensive or critical care. Of those hospitalizations, 65 are in Fraser Health, 61 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 10 in Interior Health, eight in Island Health and five in Northern Health. There are currently 4,273 empty hospital beds across the province.

The province’s top doctor struck a cautiously optimistic tone as she discussed the province’s situation, citing an early implementation of “stringent restrictions.”

“This is the flattening of our curve and we are hopeful that will continue,” she said.

But she warned British Columbians this success could be fleeting if physical distancing and self-isolation measures slow down.

“We’re in that phase where we need to be incredibly careful about what we’re doing,” Henry said.

The provincial health officer reiterated her message that next two weeks are critical in B.C.’s fight against COVID-19.

Henry urged British Columbians to halt non-essential travel within the province, especially to smaller communities that may not be able to cope with a COVID-19 outbreak.

Citing the holiday weekend coming in just over a week, she asked people to celebrate Easter in a “safe way” so the holiday doesn’t lead to more outbreaks.

“We need to think about what we can do to support people in practicing their faith without having to have in-person gatherings,” Henry said, noting she was heartened that many faith groups have already stopped face-to-face gatherings to keep their seniors safe.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said he was enthused by the federal government’s orders of personal protective equipment. He said B.C. is making a “significant effort” to secure its own, as well.

Henry said B.C. has been working on submitting data to the federal government so they can create the COVID-19 pandemic prediction Prime Minister Justin was pressed to provide earlier on Thursday.

“The modelling is only as good as the data we have,” she explained, noting that “our pandemic is going to be quite different from Ontario’s pandemic, or Prince Edward Island’s pandemic.”

B.C.’s total cases, by health authority: 525 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 386 in Fraser Health, 72 in Island Health, 121 in Interior Health and 17 in Northern Health.

B.C.’s deaths, by health authority: 24 in Vancouver Coastal Health, seven in Fraser Health and two on Vancouver Island.

READ MORE: COVID-19 predictions coming ‘soon’, but results will depend on how Canadians act

READ MORE: ‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

READ MORE: Donald Trump says Canadians on two stranded cruise ships will be heading home

@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack trustee removed from committees, district invites

Barry Neufeld’s censure involves four forms of reprimand due to recent Facebook post

Volunteers and donors behind Chilliwack’s boots and backpacks programs awarded

Principals and vice-principals chose Murray Honda, Staples and Canadian Tire for provincial award

Chilliwack RCMP support Special Olympics athletes

This year’s torch run aiming to raise $30,000 for B.C.’s athletes

FVRD activates its emergency operations centre to monitor Fraser River levels

FVRD activates its emergency operations centre to monitor Fraser River levels

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Innovative ‘purpose-built’ unit keeps residents safe when seeing family for first time since COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Death toll rises in COVID-19 outbreak at Langley Lodge

Number has risen to 22, making it the worst to date in B.C.

Fraser Valley libraries to offer contactless hold pick-ups

FVRL Express — Click, Pick, Go service to be offered at all 25 locations starting June 1

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Most Read