FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, during the March 23 update on the coronavirus pandemic at the B.C. legislature, as Health Minister Adrian Dix keeps the recommended distance to avoid transmission. (B.C. government photo)

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, during the March 23 update on the coronavirus pandemic at the B.C. legislature, as Health Minister Adrian Dix keeps the recommended distance to avoid transmission. (B.C. government photo)

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

The province has seen its first community death as a result of COVID-19, Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday (March 30).

B.C.’s top doctor said the death was one of two that have been recorded since Saturday. In that 48 hours, the province confirmed 86 new cases for a total of 970, with around 3,000 people tested each day.

“This was a person who died in their home and it was as a result of COVID-19,” she said of the community death, noting she would not comment further on the case. The BC Coroners Service confirmed the man died in the Vancouver Coastal Health area. The additional deaths bring B.C.’s total to 19 as a result of the virus.

Henry said 469 people have recovered, for a total of 48 per cent of cases, and more than 70 of those recovered patients had been hospitalized at some point during their treatment.

As of Monday, COVID-19 cases have been found in 13 care homes, she said.

READ MORE: B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

Henry said there are currently 106 people hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 60 of those in critical care units. They remain primarily older, she noted, although one child briefly hospitalized.

“This is the critical time for us,” she said, but warned that physical distancing and self-isolation remain key to slow a potential “surge” in COVID-19 cases to a “trickle.”

“We have not reached the peak,” Henry warned.

“[But] most people are absolutely doing what we need them to do.”

B.C. is in its second incubation period of COVID-19 infections and Henry said the next two weeks would determine how many new cases emerged.

The cases, broken down by health authority: 472 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 323 in Fraser Health, 67 in Island Health, 94 in Interior Health and 14 in Northern Health.

“Every community needs to know they are not immune,” Henry said, noting the province has been working with industrial camps in northern B.C.

“You can’t just abandon a large mine or industrial site,” she said. “That’s not safe for the environment, that’s not safe for the community.”

Henry’s words came after the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs sent an open letter to federal and provincial officials, asking them to pause work on the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Henry said patients waiting for a spot in an alternate level of care facility are being moved to longterm care. Additional off-site treatment areas are being set up at the Vancouver Convention Centre and in a new tower at Royal Columbia Hospital, but no one will be moved into either facility this week.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said there are 4,233 empty hospital beds in B.C., leading to an occupancy rate of 60.6 per cent for hospital beds and 53.7 per cent for critical care beds. The province has cancelled elective surgeries and moved or discharged patients to make space for coronavirus cases.

READ MORE: Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Treatment still up in the air

Henry said health officials are watching developments on hydroxychloroquine use to treat COVID-19. The drug, which has made headlines recently as a potential treatment, is already approved in Canada.

“The jury is still out on whether it has benefit or not,” she said.

“It has been used in some limited protocols in our longterm care facility outbreaks. But we don’t have enough data and time yet to know whether it’s been effective.”

The province is looking into the drug as both a preventative treatment for people who have been exposed to the novel coronavirus and as a way to treat the disease.

READ MORE: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

READ MORE: Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Forestry Ink columnist Jim Hilton. (File Photo)
FORESTRY INK: Responsible use of herbicides

Columnist Jim Hilton writes about the issue of spraying herbicides like glyphosate

This screenshot from the City of Quesnel website shows where paving took place during the 2020 season. (City of Quesnel website)
City of Quesnel completed overlay paving at five sites in 2020

The season’s work was completed within a budget of $375,000

Correlieu Secondary School students Hanna Fitchett, Justin Pugh and Jaeana Dumais (missing from photo) were recently recognized by the Quesnel and District Arts Council for their poetry submissions to the community writing contest. The students’ work was inspired by the novel Wenjack and the film The Secret Path. (Photo Submitted)
LETTER: Quesnel high school students’ poetry recognized

CSS thanks the Quesnel and District Arts Council and its community writing contest partners

The director of the Wells Snowmobile Club, Dexter Knorr, shared what is in his safety kit when sledding. Included are spare parts for his machine, like sparkplugs, and specially-designed tow ropes. (Submitted Photo)
Wells Snowmobile Club director shares tips for safe sledding

Two Prince George men were recently stranded on Yanks Peak, one overnight

In this file photo from 2019, Tammy Burrows of the Wild Women of the North Society organizes the donations before the group of volunteers begins assembling Christmas hampers Dec. 22 at the Quesnel Tillicum Society Native Friendship Centre. The society is collecting food hamper items again this winter, along with winter clothing and warm gear. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer File Photo)
There are many ways to help fill Christmas hampers in and around Quesnel

Many businesses, volunteers and the RCMP are collecting hamper items over the next few weeks

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Most Read