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B.C.'s provincial health officer announces 2 additional deaths from COVID-19
VANCOUVER -- Two more people have died from COVID-19 in British Columbia, bringing the total number of deaths from the coronavirus in the province to 114.
B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced 26 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province Saturday, bringing the total number of positive tests in B.C. since January to 2,171.
Of that total, 72 people are in hospital with the virus, Henry said, adding that she was unsure how many were in intensive care. On Friday, there were 24 people in hospital intensive care units with COVID-19.
Henry spent several minutes during her announcement Saturday talking about another community outbreak, in which more than a dozen B.C. residents working at the Kearl Lake oilsands project near Fort McMurray, Alt., have tested positive for COVID-19.
She called the Kearl Lake outbreak "very challenging" for health officials, and stressed that workers returning to B.C. from Kearl Lake must respect the province's rules around physical distancing and self-isolation in order to prevent the spread of the virus. The province has been requiring workers from the project to self-isolate while in B.C., Henry said.
"This is essential work and people are going back and forth for work, but as cases continue to be found both in Alberta and here in B.C., this is very important for us - vitally important for us in British Columbia - that anybody who has been at the site since March 24th needs to follow our requirements in British Columbia when they are home," she said.
That includes members of a worker's family maintaining physical distance from the worker and self-isolating if they start to develop symptoms themselves, Henry said. She added that B.C. has seen instances of transmission of the virus between workers from Kearl Lake and their families.
"This can cause an ongoing effect in our communities here," Henry said. "Monitoring yourself and your family closely for symptoms here in B.C. is very important."
There are ongoing outbreaks at four poultry plants in Metro Vancouver and at the federal medium security prison in Mission, but Henry said updated numbers had not all been compiled in time for the noon briefing Saturday, adding that accurate figures would be released in the afternoon.
Henry repeated statistics about outbreaks in the province, saying there are 24 active outbreaks at health-care facilities, including 21 outbreaks in long-term care and assisted-living facilities and three outbreaks in hospital acute care units.
Those figures are unchanged from Friday, despite an announcement Saturday from Crofton Manor in Vancouver that a staff member there had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The facility's website describes it as a retirement home, though it says it offers residents both "independent living" and "assisted living."
The provincial health officer was not asked about Crofton Manor at her briefing Saturday, but at least one other retirement home in B.C. has had a confirmed case of COVID-19 but not been included in the provincial tally of care home outbreaks. That facility, Berwick by the Sea in Campbell River, announced that a resident had tested positive for the virus in late March. A few weeks later, it announced that the resident had recovered and no other cases had been found.
Berwick by the Sea was never included in the province's list of long-term care and assisted-living home outbreaks.
Of B.C.'s total confirmed cases of COVID-19, the vast majority have been located in the Lower Mainland. There have been 992 in the Fraser Health region, which spans from Burnaby to Hope, and 832 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, which includes the cities of Richmond and Vancouver, Metro Vancouver's North Shore and the Sea-to-Sky Corridor.
Elsewhere in the province, there have been 175 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Interior Health region, 123 in Island Health and 49 in Northern Health.
A total of 1,376 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C. are now considered fully recovered, meaning there are 681 active cases of the coronavirus in the province.