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55 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., majority linked to poultry plants

B.C. health officials announce 55 new COVID-19 cases, majority linked to poultry facility
B.C. health officials announce 55 new COVID-19 cases, majority linked to poultry industry.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Tuesday confirmed 55 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and two additional deaths.

There are now 2,053 confirmed cases of the disease in the province, and 1,190 of those have fully recovered. The death toll stands at 105.

READ MORE: COVID-19 outbreak at B.C. poultry plant shows it’s ‘irresponsible’ to work sick: B.C. premier

Ninety-four people are in hospital — a decrease of three patients from Monday — while 37 patients are in intensive care.

A majority of the new cases are linked to the outbreaks at two chicken processing facilities in Metro Vancouver, Henry said. There are 46 cases at Superior Poultry in Coquitlam and 34 at United Poultry in East Vancouver.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: No date yet from B.C. education minister on schools reopening

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There are two additional cases at Mission Institution, bringing the total to 120 inmates and 12 staff members.

Earlier on Tuesday, Education Minister Rob Fleming gave an update on what’s been happening in B.C.’s education system since in-class instruction was suspended on March 17, but did not provide a date or any specifics on when kids might return to schools.

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Henry emphasized that the province could look at easing restrictions designed to curb the spread of the virus as early as mid-May since most of the cases are linked to known outbreaks.

She said a major priority will be “picking up unlinked cases … people who are sick without a known source that we can trace to very easily.”

The BC Centre for Disease Control is looking at 17 different types of serology tests — some of which she described as “promising” — that could be used to determine who has already been infected, and that some could become available in the next week.

Premier John Horgan will be speaking more about the province’s pandemic plan in the coming days, she added.