Health officials announce 5 more dead of COVID-19 in B.C., 45 more infected
VICTORIA -- Five more people in British Columbia have died from COVID-19, health officials announced Wednesday, bringing the total number of casualties from the novel coronavirus in the province to 48.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the new deaths at their daily briefing on the virus. They also announced 45 new test-positive cases of the virus, bringing the province's total to 1,336 confirmed cases.
Most of the deaths continue to happen in long-term care and assisted-living facilities, Henry said, noting that two of the five deaths had occurred at Amica Edgemont in North Vancouver, a care home where no previous fatalities had been recorded.
A total of 135 people in B.C. are hospitalized with COVID-19, and 61 are in critical care. Both of those numbers represent slight decreases from the totals recorded on Tuesday.
The decrease in hospitalizations continues a trend that has been ongoing for much of this week. But both Henry and Dix reiterated the need to continue the measures the province has taken to limit the spread of the virus, especially with a long weekend approaching.
"We need to stay home this weekend," Henry said. "This is not the time to take unnecessary travel. It's not the time to go to some of our smaller or more remote communities."
Both the provincial health officer and the health minister encouraged people observing religious holidays in the coming weeks to ensure that they connect with their extended families and religious communities digitally, rather than in person.
Henry said the progress the province has made in slowing the spread of the virus shouldn't be taken for granted. It could be hampered by people leaving their homes and gathering together on the long weekend.
"We need to make sure that we consider the impact that such a misstep could have on everything that we have done and everything that we have put together in the last couple of weeks," she said. "It is no time for us to let up, at all."
Henry and Dix also touted the importance of measures announced earlier in the day by Premier John Horgan, which will require all international travellers arriving in B.C. to present a self-isolation plan to officials. Those plans will include an outline of how the returning traveller plans to get food and any other essentials needed for 14 days of self-isolation. Community organizations and volunteers have offered to help with delivery of such items if necessary, according to Henry.
"It's a really important thing that we can do to welcome home our fellow people from British Columbia and make sure that they have the means to stand with us and make sure that we're doing all that we can to continue to prevent transmission of this virus in our communities," Henry said.
Most of B.C.'s cases and hospitalizations continue to be located in the Lower Mainland. There are 615 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 487 in the Fraser Health region. Those two health authorities combine to cover all of Metro Vancouver as well as surrounding communities in the Fraser Valley and the Sea-to-Sky corridor.
There are 48 people hospitalized in Vancouver Coastal Health and 62 in Fraser Health, Dix said Wednesday.
Elsewhere in the province, 130 positive cases have been recorded in the Interior Health region, and 10 people are currently hospitalized there.
There are 81 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 11 hospitalizations in the Island Health region, as well as 23 cases and 4 hospitalizations in the Northern Health region.
There are now 838 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in B.C. who are considered recovered. That's an increase of 33 since Tuesday.