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

Education advisor Tom McEvay congratulates two Alberni Valley Bulldogs on their high academic achievements for the 2015-16 season: Quinn Syrydiuk, left, for college and Cayden Kraus for high school. (KAICEE TROTT PHOTO)
BCHL: Port Alberni’s Tom McEvay joins Coquitlam Express as education advisor

McEvay now schools players for three teams, including Alberni and Nanaimo

Gary Bender from Bailey Electric secures two art banners on lampposts at Argyle Street and Sixth Avenue in May 2020. Despite a delay due to COVID-19 measures, the Rotary Club of Port Alberni-Arrowsmith was able to collect and put up half of the art banners it usually does in the Rotary Arts District. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Rotary Arts District banner program switches to ‘paint at home’ for 2021

Arrowsmith Rotary Club needs 80 registrations to go ahead this year

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
BUDGET 2021: City of Port Alberni looks at tax increase of 3.95 percent

City of Port Alberni held its first budget meeting of the year

Emma Nunn from Alberni Valley Rescue Squad waits at the summit of Mount Arrowsmith for the rest of the AVRS rope rescue team on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)
UPDATE: Injured hikers among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and City of Port Alberni have chosen the Voyent Alert! app for emergency notifications. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Alberni, ACRD unveil new emergency alert system

Program is a response to criticism of botched communication after 2018 tsunami warning

B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth (Black Press files)
B.C. watchdog says mentally ill children and youth retraumatized in hospital

The number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent in past decade

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating after a threat was made at Woodgrove Centre on Tuesday, Jan. 19. (News Bulletin file photo)
Threat directed at Nanaimo mall, RCMP investigating

Police have searched areas of Woodgrove Centre accessible to shoppers and have deemed it safe

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Victoria waterfront

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

The British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) sent out a sharply worded release late last week, in which it noted that the Tourism Industry Association of BC recently obtained a ‘legal opinion’ on the matter (Alex Passini photo)
Hotel associations push back against any potential ban on inter-provincial, non-essential travel restrictions

B.C. Premier John Horgan is seeking legal advice on banning non-essential travel

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
COVID rapid tests in long-term care key during vaccine rollout: B.C. care providers

‘Getting kits into the hands of care providers should be a top priority,’ says former Health Minister

Most Read