Advertisement

Coronavirus: 11 new deaths in B.C. as total number of cases nears 1,500

Click to play video: 'Some encouraging news from B.C.’s latest COVID-19 numbers' Some encouraging news from B.C.’s latest COVID-19 numbers
WATCH: There is some encouraging news in the latest numbers on the COVID-19 outbreak in B.C. Keith Baldrey reports – Apr 13, 2020

B.C. has recorded 11 COVID-19 deaths since Saturday, says B.C.’s provincial health officer.

A visibly emotional Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday the majority of those new deaths were linked to outbreaks in seniors’ care homes.

The virus has now killed 69 British Columbians — more than half of them in seniors’ facilities.

British Columbia confirmed 45 new cases Monday, bringing the provincial total to 1,490 lab-confirmed cases of the virus — about two thirds of whom have fully recovered.

More than 250 of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases are linked to outbreaks in 20 Metro Vancouver seniors’ homes.

Another 40 of the cases are in the medium-security Mission Institution. Five corrections officers and 35 inmates — eight of whom are in hospital — have contracted COVID-19, making it the worst prison outbreak in Canada.

Story continues below advertisement

The pandemic’s effect on the province’s hospitals remained largely flat on Monday.

Click here to view data »

There are 137 people in hospital, up three from Saturday. Fifty-eight of those patients are in intensive care, down five from Saturday.

Long weekend lockdown

Social media was awash with anger over the long weekend, as users shared images appearing to show busy ferries and highways.

Health officials and small communities had pleaded with the public all last week to avoid non-essential travel and not visit their cabin or stay at a bed-and-breakfast.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

However, Health Minister Adrian Dix said ferry terminals may have looked crowded, but the numbers show traffic was far below seasonal averages.

Click to play video: 'Did British Columbians heed directives to stay home during the Easter long weekend?' Did British Columbians heed directives to stay home during the Easter long weekend?
Did British Columbians heed directives to stay home during the Easter long weekend? – Apr 13, 2020

BC Ferries’ major routes saw 173,000 passengers on last year’s Easter weekend, Dix said, while this year, the service saw fewer than 15,000.

Story continues below advertisement

People should not rush to judgment, Henry added, and should remember there are many essential reasons to travel, such as inter-community commutes and students heading home after the end of the semester.

She also cautioned people from jumping to criticizes others who spend time outdoors.

“I have seen many, many examples of people who are having a conversation with their neighbour from a safe distance,” she said. “People are out with their family, with their housemates, having picnics, sitting in the sun, going for a walk — those are fine.”

Returning travellers

More than 1,700 people have returned to B.C. since the province began requiring international travellers to fill out a self-isolation plan, Dr. Henry said.

Just 13 of those people have required accommodation because they did not have a plan in place, she said, while the province has conducted 207 follow-ups.

Click to play video: 'April 13 marks the B.C. government’s 50th public COVID-19 update' April 13 marks the B.C. government’s 50th public COVID-19 update
April 13 marks the B.C. government’s 50th public COVID-19 update – Apr 13, 2020

Dix said he was hopeful the federal government and other provinces would adopt B.C.’s approach for returning travellers, noting that many people who are destined for B.C. may not enter Canada through the Vancouver International Airport.

Story continues below advertisement

Under federal quarantine law, travellers returning to Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days or potentially face fines or jail time.

Getting back to normal

B.C. is closely watching jurisdictions that are beginning to ease some lockdown measures, as officials begin to map out the province’s own transition.

When and how B.C. eases its own restrictions will depend heavily on what happens in the U.S. and the rest of Canada, Henry said, as well the results of community testing here.

Click to play video: 'B.C. health officials announce 45 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths in 48-hour period' B.C. health officials announce 45 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths in 48-hour period
B.C. health officials announce 45 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths in 48-hour period – Apr 13, 2020

Officials are debating which areas of the economy and health-care system could be revived first, and how to do so safely.

But she warned “the basics” of pandemic life — hand-washing, physical distancing and working from home wherever possible — aren’t going anywhere soon.

Story continues below advertisement

“Those are things that are not going to change for a while.”

Sponsored content