10 more cases, 2 more deaths from COVID-19 in B.C.
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's top doctor has announced 10 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province and two more deaths from the coronavirus.
There have now been 2,517 people who have tested positive for the virus in B.C., and 157 people have died.
Currently, there are 303 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in her announcement Saturday.
Of those cases, 39 people are in hospital with the coronavirus and 8 are in intensive care.
Both of the individuals who died over the last 24 hours were residents of a long-term care home in the Fraser Health region, Henry said, offering her condolences to the families of the deceased.
"Again, it speaks to the challenges and the devastation that this virus can cause when it gets into our long-term care homes," she said.
There are currently 14 long-term care and assisted-living facilities in the province with active outbreaks of the virus, but Henry said she was "happy" to note that there had been no new positive tests among residents of such facilities in the last day.
There are also two ongoing outbreaks at hospital acute-care units, as well as outbreaks at prisons, poultry plants and produce-processing facilities in the Fraser Valley.
The most recent of those outbreaks was seen at the Nature's Touch frozen fruit processing facility in Abbotsford. Fraser Health announced that outbreak Friday afternoon, saying five employees at the facility had tested positive for COVID-19.
On Saturday, Henry said the Nature's Touch outbreak had been "caught relatively early," which she finds encouraging.
At the same time, however, the fact that new outbreaks continue to be detected in British Columbia, reminds residents that they must be vigilant in the measures they take to avoid spreading the virus.
"Outbreaks tell us that the virus is still out there in the community," the provincial health officer said. "They're a warning to us that as we're opening up more settings, we have to be vigilant."
B.C. transitioned into phase two of its reopening plan earlier this week, with many restaurants, salons and other businesses reopening with added protective measures.
Asked to assess how the reopening has been going so far, Henry praised the B.C. businesses that have reopened and the residents who have been using them.
"I think things are going mostly really well," she said. "I think we're doing it in a slow and measured way, and I'm very grateful for people taking that approach."
The vast majority of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C. have been located in the Lower Mainland, with 890 cases located in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 1,244 in Fraser Health.
Elsewhere in the province, there have been 194 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Interior Health region, 127 in Island Health and 62 in Northern Health.
Henry was asked Saturday whether health officials would consider providing more specific breakdowns on the location of infections in the province. In the past, she has declined to do so, citing concerns about patient privacy if a small community was reported to have just one or two cases, as well as concerns it would give people living in areas without known cases a false sense of security.
"It's this sense that 'it's those people over there that have a problem and I'm OK' that we need to be very careful about," Henry said. "The risk is everywhere, and so we all need to take the actions to prevent transmission of the virus."
She added that health officials have been looking at whether there are "reasonable smaller units" that geographic data could be reported in, but said B.C.'s health authorities are comparable in size to some of the reporting regions used by other provinces.
A total of 2,057 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C. are now considered fully recovered. That represents 82 per cent of all cases of the virus in the province, Henry said.
Watch an American Sign Language translation of the news conference on the provincial government's YouTube page.