B.C. man in his 40s with confirmed COVID-19 infection dies at home
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia has recorded one more death from COVID-19 and another 63 test-positive cases since the last update over the weekend.
Speaking at her daily briefing on Monday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the latest person to perish from COVID-19 in B.C. is a man in his 40s who died at home, even though he was known to be carrying the virus.
It's unclear why the patient was not being cared for in hospital. Few personal details have been shared about who he was, though the B.C. Coroners Service told CTV News he lived in the Lower Mainland.
B.C.'s latest COVID-19 cases, which were confirmed between Saturday afternoon and Monday, bring the provincial total up to 1,266, though officials also announced a further 79 people have recovered from the virus. That marks the third update in a row where recoveries outpaced infections.
"Our percentage of new cases, as you can see, has been slowing," Henry said. "That's really important, and it's a testament to the effort that everybody here in British Columbia has been making over these past few weeks, but we must keep that firewall strong."
Henry also announced Monday that the number of long-term care homes and assisted living facilities dealing with local outbreaks of COVID-19 has decreased to 21 from 24. The homes aren't cleared until they have been free of new cases for two incubation periods, according to health officials.
Meanwhile, Ontario and Quebec continue to see large increases in their case count daily. On Monday, the provinces reached 4,347 and 8,580 test-positive cases, respectively.
Asked about B.C.'s relative success, Dr. Henry credited a mix of luck and preparation. The timing of B.C.'s later spring break gave health officials a chance to observe what happened over in Quebec, where families went on vacation two weeks earlier.
"They have very strong connections, as we know, with countries like France, and people were coming home from March break and getting sick," she said.
But B.C. continues to see new outbreaks of COVID-19 as well, including at a federal prison in Mission over the weekend, where two inmates have so far caught the virus.
Health officials stressed that everyone must continue practising physical distancing, regular hand-washing and other precautions to keep the province on its current trajectory.
"We continue to see clusters and outbreaks in our communities and facilities, and these hot spots are very concerning," Henry said. "They can quickly escalate and challenge our response, our ability to keep things under control."
As the Easter long weekend approaches, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix urged people to find a way to continue following public health advice while observing religious or family traditions.
"This is not the time to come together in groups to celebrate but to recognize these important moments of faith in new ways – virtually – in order to both satisfy the demands of religious faith but also to ensure that everyone is kept safe in these times," he said.
There are currently 445 active test-positive cases in the province. Of those, 140 people are hospitalized with the virus, including 72 who are in intensive care.
The latest community death is being investigated by the B.C. Coroners Service. The victim is only the second person to die outside of a hospital or health care facility in B.C., following North Vancouver dentist Dr. Denis Vincent.
An American Sign Language translation of today's news conference is available on the province's YouTube page.