B.C. reports fewer than 30 new COVID-19 cases for 4th day in a row
VANCOUVER -- For the fourth day in a row, health officials in British Columbia have reported fewer than 30 new test-positive cases of COVID-19.
During her daily virus briefing on Tuesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced another 25 people have caught the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases confirmed in B.C. since late January to 1,724.
B.C. has reported fewer than 30 cases on eight of the last 10 days – part of the "bending of our curve" that officials have credited to residents' combined efforts to dutifully follow public health advice.
But Henry stressed that the progress is fragile, and that people must continue respecting all COVID-19 restrictions for the time being.
That means staying physically distant but also recognizing when people develop even mild symptoms that indicate they're unwell. Henry said those people must stay home and self-isolate to avoid accidentally spreading the virus.
"We know that this has been hard on all of you," she added. "I understand that this is not easy, but we can look to the future knowing that we're getting through this together, that it is not forever, but we must continue to act today. We are at that important crossroads."
By comparison, Quebec reported 807 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday alone, bringing the provincial total to 20,126. Ontario reported 551 cases, bringing its total to 11,735.
Sadly, Dr. Henry also confirmed one more person has died from the virus in B.C. The latest person to succumb to COVID-19 is a senior living in a long-term care home in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.
"Our thoughts go out to the family and to the caregivers of this person," Henry said.
Officials had no new outbreaks to report at long-term care homes and assisted living facilities, but did announce a new outbreak at a poultry plant in Vancouver. So far, 28 employees at United Poultry Ltd. Have tested positive for the virus, prompting a temporary closure of the East Vancouver business.
However, the Canada Food Inspection Agency said there's nothing to suggest food processed at the plant could cause further infections, something that Dr. Henry reiterated at her briefing.
"I know there will be concerns about the products that have come out of this," Henry said. "We don't have any evidence that COVID-19 can be spread from meat and from consuming of products like that or from packaging on meat."
Officials said onlye some of the 28 cases were included in Tuesday's total.
Meanwhile, health officials are continuing to deal with a handful of community outbreaks, including the worsening situation at Mission Institution, the federal prison in B.C.'s Fraser Valley that has now seen 76 infections. That includes 65 inmates and 11 staff.
Of the 596 cases currently active in B.C. there are 109 people in hospital, including 51 who are in critical care. Dr. Henry said the province saw only two more recoveries over the last day, bringing the total to 1,041.
Henry has alluded to some relaxing of restrictions, and on Tuesday elaborated on how it might look when dentists, massage therapists and chiropractors are given the green light to begin seeing patients again.
She noted that both clients and businesses would need to be aware of the risks that would come from reopening.
"We need to look at not having everybody sitting in the waiting room at the same time, so it may mean that we have people coming in at set appointments," Henry said. "We may not be able to see as many people in a day, but we have to do it in a way that we have the appropriate protections in place."
Officials have suggested mid-May is the earliest people can expect to see some of the restrictions lifted, and that allowing elective surgeries again will likely be one of the first steps.
Watch an American Sign Language translation of the news conference on the provincial government's YouTube page.