33 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.; 2 more deaths

ADRIAN Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, on Thursday announced 33 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 2,288 cases in British Columbia.

There were two new COVID-19 related deaths, one in the Fraser Health region and one in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, for a total of 126 deaths in British Columbia.

Health region-wise, there are 865 cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,064 in the Fraser Health region, 126 in the Island Health region, 179 in the Interior Health region and 54 in the Northern Health region.

In the last day, there have been no new long-term care or assisted-living facility outbreaks. In total, 16 facilities and five acute-care units have active cases. Outbreaks have now been declared over at 18 care facilities, including the Swedish Canadian Manor.

Public health teams are also providing support to a number of community outbreaks, actively contact tracing those who may be directly affected and their close contacts.

There are seven confirmed positive cases at Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry, 56 at Superior Poultry in Coquitlam and 35 at United Poultry in Vancouver.

There are also 134 inmates and staff confirmed positive at the Mission Institution federal correctional centre, as well as 16 positive cases of COVID-19 connected to the Kearl Lake plant in Alberta.

To date, 1,512 people who had tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered.

Of the total COVID-19 cases, 76 individuals are hospitalized, 20 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

“We are in Phase 1 of our four-part COVID-19 B.C. Restart Plan, which means we must continue doing what we have been doing since the orders and restrictions were put in place a few weeks ago.

Dix and Henry noted: “Yesterday, the Premier announced we will be ready to move to Phase 2 after the May long weekend. This is something we can all look forward to, but we are not there yet.

“Staying home as much as possible and being respectful of those around us when we do go out are still very much a necessity for all of us. These principles will not change, even as we move to the next phase: Safe physical distancing, washing our hands and avoiding non-essential personal travel.

“It will be a slow and thoughtful restart. As we shift to the next phase, not everyone will be ready to increase their social connection or to restart their business at the same time.

“Whether an individual or business, each of us must use the principles we have set out to guide our actions moving forward.

“If you are senior, or someone with an underlying illness, your increased risk has not lessened. This means that as you look ahead and consider how you may safely increase your social connections, this needs to be top of mind.

“For businesses, public health and WorkSafeBC will outline the specific requirements that must be followed for your business sector and workforce. Template plans and checklists for businesses are being developed for you to follow.

“Businesses can make decisions for themselves, based on their ability to meet the requirements that are set out. While individual plans will not need to be submitted for approval, you will need to ensure your plan is publicly posted for everyone to see.

“This approach will give your employees and customers the assurance and confidence that you are doing all you can to protect them.

“Underpinning the Restart Plan is our COVID-19 health system response.

“Today, the surgical renewal plan was announced to significantly increase the number of surgeries and clear the backlog created by COVID-19.

“The renewal plan will see our health-care system maximize every available operating room, allowing new capacity, and hiring and training staff to ensure we can provide care for patients while maintaining capacity for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients.

“Testing remains in place for anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19. Additionally, public health teams will continue to be on high alert, monitoring and contact tracing new cases of COVID-19.

“This renewal plan and our approach moving forward is about ensuring we are operating our health-care system in the safest way possible to protect patients and our health-care workers.

“Like everyone around the world, this is a new challenge for all us. Our future is in all of our hands. We must continue to stand together in spirit as we get through this pandemic together.”

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