At today's briefing, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that 53 more people have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to date in B.C. to 1,066 confirmed cases. Currently 142 people are hospitalized in B.C. as a result of the virus, with 67 patients in critical care. More than half of all patients — 606 — have fully recovered.
In the Vancouver Coastal Health region, there have been 497 confirmed cases since the pandemic began. Many of those have been in long-term care or assisted living facilities, including ongoing outbreaks at the Lynn Valley Care Centre and Haro Park Centre. The experience gained means there is now a very low threshold for testing in long-term care; even one presumed case of COVID-19 is managed very aggressively.
Dr. Henry also announced the Ministry of Health has posted the COVID-19 Ethical Decision-Making Framework online, allowing the public to see the framework, and underlying principles and values, that provide an interim process to support healthcare organizations and teams to make challenging decisions in a COVID-19 outbreak. It can be found here. Also posted is the COVID-19 Ethics Analysis: What is the Ethical Duty of Health Care Workers to Provide Care During COVID-19 Pandemic? It can be found here.
Earlier today, B.C. Premier John Horgan announced measures by BC Hydro to address the economic impacts of COVID-19 — including a universal one per cent reduction in rates for all customers. Residential customers who have lost jobs or had wages reduced as a result of COVID-19 will receive a three-month bill credit worth three times their average monthly bills over the past year, which will not have to be paid back. Small businesses forced to close as a result of COVID-19 will have their April to June 2020 bills forgiven, and the option of a three-month deferment will be offered to large businesses. Major industry partners, including pulp mills and mines, will be able to defer 50 per cent of their bill for three months.
Federally, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today Parliament will be recalled to pass new legislation to deliver enhanced COVID-19 emergency aid measures.
Medical Health Officers, our provincial partners and the Public Health Agency of Canada continue to actively monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect yourself while out in public, wash your hands frequently and maintain social distance.
We strongly urge anyone who has symptoms —including a fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat, or difficulty breathing — to self-isolate for 10 days. Testing is available for people with respiratory symptoms who are hospitalized or likely to be hospitalized, including pregnant women in their third trimester; health-care workers; residents of long-term care facilities; or part of an investigation of a cluster or outbreak. A self-assessment tool, developed with the BC Ministry of Health, will help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. Find it at covid19.thrive.health, or download a self-assessment app for smartphones.
For more information and latest updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit the website: http://www.bccdc.ca/