Another person has died of the novel coronavirus in British Columbia, health officials said Saturday while announcing 92 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The province has now confirmed a total of 884 cases of the respiratory disease.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix both said despite the major increase in new cases, the province was still on the same path shown in modelling data released Friday that made them “cautiously optimistic” the curve might flatten soon.
But they added it’s crucial for everyone to continue social distancing measures to make that a reality.
“We are at that very critical point right now where we need to continue this action together,” Henry said.
“We must stay apart with our physical distancing. We must stay home if we’re ill. We must be united in this, and 100 per cent committed until we flatten this curve for good. Now, more than ever, we need you to keep this up.”
The majority of cases continue to be reported in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, which has seen 444 cases so far. Fraser Health is home to 291 cases, while 60 are on Vancouver Island and 77 are in the Interior Health area. Twelve cases have been confirmed in Northern Health.
Of those cases, Henry said 81 are now in hospital, after four more cases were admitted between Friday and Saturday. She said 52 of those cases are in intensive care.
Henry explained the jump in ICU patients is due to hospitals putting people on ventilators earlier in order to improve their overall health outcomes, having learned from jurisdictions in Europe that the practice has led to greater recoveries.
Dix said there are now 4,295 vacant hospital beds across the province as health authorities prepare for more cases.
Seventeen people have now died of coronavirus in B.C. The majority of the deaths in B.C. so far have been linked to North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley Care Centre.
Henry confirmed Saturday there are now 12 long-term care homes experiencing outbreaks, including Lynn Valley Care Centre. Both residents and staff at those care homes have tested positive for COVID-19.
The three latest seniors’ homes to report cases — two in Fraser Health, and a third on Vancouver Island — announced the news Friday.
On a positive note, Henry said 396 cases have now recovered, accounting for 45 per cent of the province’s total to date. Dix said 121 of those recoveries were confirmed in just the past 24 hours.
On Friday, Henry and Dix released new modelling data that shows B.C. may have avoided a “worst-case scenario,” with Henry expressing optimism that social distancing measures have begun to flatten the curve in the province.
Saturday’s increase in cases was the largest single-day rise so far for B.C., but still represented only an 11 per cent increase day-over-day, which Henry and Dix said was still in line with the previous day’s data.
“We have to be 100 per cent all in, in the work we do together,” Dix said. “We have shown, I think, and are showing an ability to bend the curve, but that ability depends on all of us, every day, recommitting to the work we do.
“Are you thinking of going out and doing something other than essential work, or errands or exercise? Don’t. Stay home, stop the spread, bend the curve.”View link »