3 additional deaths, 35 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C.
Published Saturday, April 11, 2020 11:32AM PDT Last Updated Saturday, April 11, 2020 6:33PM PDT
VANCOUVER -- Three more people have died from COVID-19 in British Columbia over the last 24 hours, said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Saturday.
The total death toll in B.C. from the coronavirus pandemic now stands at 58.
Henry also announced 35 new cases of the virus, bringing B.C.'s total to 1,445.
There are 134 people in hospital with COVID-19 in the province, including 63 who are in critical care, Henry said.
Throughout the week, Henry and provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix have been warning people against taking unnecessary travel during the ongoing Easter long weekend.
On Friday, CTV News Vancouver reported on crowded ferry terminals and busy beaches, with significant numbers of people apparently not heeding that advice.
Asked about this during her Saturday briefing, Henry focused instead on those who have been staying home, who she described as "most" B.C. residents.
The provincial health officer noted that the capacity on BC Ferries has been severely limited by federal regulations and by the ferry service's self-imposed service reductions. She said she had been in contact with BC Ferries about traffic levels this weekend, and was "heartened" by the company's assertion that traffic is much lower than usually expected during a long weekend.
"If you don't have a reason to go, then don't go," Henry said. "Stay home. Stay close to home. We know most people are doing that. There are many reasons why people may need to travel, whether it's for family, for being able to check up on people that they've not had the ability to do that for, so I think we all need to be patient and kind with each other."
There have been no additional outbreaks in long-term care facilities, the provincial health officer said Saturday, meaning there are still 20 such facilities with active cases in the province. At those seniors' care homes, there are 246 confirmed cases of COVID-19; 153 of them are residents of the homes and 93 are staff members.
Asked whether B.C. anticipates a shortage of workers for care homes, as has been reported in Quebec and Ontario, Henry said the province has a plan in place to ensure adequate staffing at such facilities.
Part of the reason it took multiple weeks for B.C. to implement its provincial health order barring health-care workers from working at multiple long-term care homes, Henry said, was because officials had to work out the logistics of ensuring all homes would have sufficient staff.
"We've not seen staffing shortages, and we've been working very carefully to try and support staff so they can continue to come into work," Henry said. "We've had a large number … of nurses and care aides who've stepped up and volunteered to assist in the long-term-care-facility outbreaks that we've had and we're incredibly grateful for that."
The vast majority of B.C.'s cases of the virus are located in the Lower Mainland, with 642 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 558 in the Fraser Health region. Those two regions are responsible for all of Metro Vancouver, as well as surrounding communities in the Fraser Valley and the Sea-to-Sky Corridor.
Elsewhere in the province, there are 135 cases in the Interior Health region, 84 in the Island Health region, and 26 in Northern Health.
A total of 905 people who have tested positive for the virus in B.C. are now considered fully recovered, Henry said.
Watch an American Sign Language translation of the news conference on the provincial government's YouTube page.