B.C. man in his 40s dies of COVID-19 as province announces 63 new cases
British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks during a news conference regarding the novel coronavirus COVID-19, in Vancouver, on Saturday, March 14, 2020. Darryl Dyck / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
VICTORIA -- A British Columbia man in his 40s has died of COVID-19, one of the youngest known victims of the novel coronavirus in the province to date.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the latest death Monday and said 63 more people had tested positive for the virus since Saturday.
The man who died was previously known to have been infected with the virus and died at home instead of in a hospital, Henry said. This is the second commuity death attributed to COVID-19 in the province.
The BC Coroners Service confirmed to CTV News Vancouver Island that the man was from B.C.'s Lower Mainland.
As of Monday there were 1,266 people infected with COVID-19 in the province, with 783 of those considered fully recovered.
39 people have died of COVID-19 in B.C. Of those still suffering from the virus, 140 are currently in hospital, with 72 in critical care.
Henry said the number of care homes dealing with local outbreaks of COVID-19 has decreased to 21 locations from 24.
"Three of the previous ones have been declared over, meaning there have been no cases for two incubation periods, so that's good news," she said.
The provincial health officer also announced two new cases of the virus at a federal corrections facility in Mission.
"This is in the middle of our critical weeks here for COVID-19," Henry said.
"We must be steadfast in our commitment to holding the line right now in B.C. We continue to see clusters and outbreaks in our communities and our facilities and these hotspots are very concerning."
Henry said on Saturday she was optimistic about the day's declining number of new coronavirus cases but cautioned that cases could once again surge. On Monday, she reiterated that the province's rate of new infections "has been slowing."
Last week marked the deadliest week of the pandemic so far in B.C., with more than a dozen deaths reported since Wednesday.
"No day where anyone passes away from COVID-19 is a good day," said B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix on Monday.
The province is continuing to try to secure protective equipment for health-care workers, Dix said, adding that new supplies of masks and respirators are currently undergoing testing.
"As the masks are not from our traditional suppliers, we need to make sure they are safe and effective before putting them into circulation," Dix said.
He noted that the province is working with the federal government to ensure self-isolation and quarantine orders are being followed.
"There must be enforcement, without exceptions," Dix said. "We think we're being heard on this point."
With the long-weekend looming, the health minister stressed that people need to maintain their self-isolation regardless of religious or family traditions.
"This is not the time to come together in groups to celebrate but to recognize these important moments of faith in new ways – virtually – in order to both satisfy the demands of religious faith but also to ensure that everyone is kept safe in these times," he said.
Henry urged people to “keep the firewall strong” by staying home, keeping calm and speaking virtually with their family doctor to deal with any anxiety they may be feeling.