Health officials announce 11 more deaths, 45 more positive cases of COVID-19 in B.C.
VANCOUVER -- Eleven more people have died from COVID-19 in B.C. and there are 45 new positive cases, health officials announced Monday.
Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry's afternoon update covered two days' worth of COVID-19 case numbers as there was no update given Sunday. From Saturday to Sunday, 25 people tested positive, while over the past 24 hours, 20 people tested positive.
That brings the province's total number of cases up to 1,490.
Henry announced 11 additional deaths, which means 69 have died from the novel coronavirus in the province. Monday's update marked the most deaths Henry has reported in a single briefing, but that number covered a two-day span.
Henry also said 254 people associated with long-term care homes have tested positive for the virus.
There are 137 people who have been hospitalized, Henry said, with 75 in the Fraser Health region.
"In addition we have a number of community outbreaks as you're aware," Henry said, highlighting that one additional person has tested positive amongst a group of temporary foreign workers in Kelowna.
Ongoing testing and surveillance is being done at the Okanagan Correctional Centre, but only one person has tested positive there so far.
At least nine more cases have also been reported at the Mission Institution. On Sunday, the Correctional Service of Canada announced the new cases, which brought the institution's total up to 35 and made it the highest number of cases in all Canadian federal prisons.
"This is of course of great concern to us and we've been working very closely with Fraser Health, with Correctional Services Canada and with the (B.C. Centre for Disease Control) to support the ongoing outbreak investigation as well as the infection prevention and control measures that are needed within that facility," Henry said.
"Our priority of course is to protect all of those who are within the facility."
As well, Haro Park Centre, a long-term care home in Vancouver's West End announced two new positive cases at its facility on Sunday. There are now at least 12 people with the virus in that care home, which is one of 20 long-term and assisted-living homes with an outbreak in the province.
Of the province's total number of cases, 650 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 591 are in the Fraser Health Region, 87 are on Vancouver Island, 136 are in the Interior Health region and 26 are in the Northern Health region.
'Many reasons' to travel: Henry
Ahead of the Easter long weekend, Henry and Dix urged B.C. residents to stay home. Even so, many BC Ferries sailings were full, sparking concern that residents may not have been following that request.
But Henry said she's encouraged to see that most people seem to be following the rules.
"I think it's safe to say that we have been united in keeping our firewall strong across this province and BC Ferries continues to report more than 80 per cent decline on travellers on all of their routes, so that is something that reassures us," she said.
"But I do want to say there are many reasons why people may need to travel and essential travel is still required to keep our province going, to make sure we have the food, the medications, the things that we need in all parts of the province."
Even though the long weekend has passed, Henry encouraged residents to keep practising physical distancing and to avoid all non-essential travel.
"Today marks our 50th public update since this crisis began," Henry said. "It is so important for all of us to keep going with everything we're doing now. It is holding us, it is holding our line … keep doing what you are doing."
Watch an American Sign Language translation of the news conference on the provincial government's YouTube page.