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B.C. reports 4 new COVID-19 deaths as cases at poultry plants climb

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Four more residents of B.C.’s long-term care homes have died of COVID-19.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Wednesday the province’s coronavirus death toll now stands at 109 people — more than half of them in long-term care or assisted-living facilities.

Henry reported 34 new cases of the virus, including single cases at two additional long-term care homes.

One of those homes, Langley Lodge, had previously had a COVID-19 outbreak declared over.

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Large outbreaks at a pair of Metro Vancouver poultry processing plants have also worsened, now accounting for 92 cases. Single cases were identified at two new meat processing plants in the Lower Mainland earlier that day.

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Henry said she has stressed the importance of workplace safety with the poultry industry.

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“I think this is a reflection of the discussions we’ve had with the leaders in the meat and poultry industry to make sure they are monitoring their workers and that we are all working together to identify people early,” she said of the discovery of the new cases.

“These industry outbreaks, the poultry outbreaks, are a warning to us that we don’t quite have that way of thinking within our industries … to ensure people aren’t coming in ill.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province would unveil its plan for restarting scheduled surgeries in “the coming days and weeks.”

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More than 16,000 surgeries have been cancelled to keep hospital beds free in case of a surge in new

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COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, the province has still managed to complete more than 14,500 urgent surgeries, he said.

As the province begins clear the backlog, the priority will be on patients who risk serious complications or a permanent degradation in quality of life the longer they wait, Henry added.

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Of B.C.’s 2,087 total confirmed cases, more than 62 per cent have fully recovered, Henry said.

The number of people in hospital with the disease dropped to 89 Wednesday, while the number of people in intensive care fell to 35.

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