BREAKING: COVID update says 45 new BC cases, calls on 'civic obligation'
In a daily provincial update on the COVID-19 public health emergency, Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer confirmed that there are 45 new BC cases identified since yesterday, but underscored that much of the data they are receiving now is from the past two weeks.
This brings the total up to 231, with 13 patients in acute care (up from seven yesterday), but with no new deaths reported.
Henry explained the province’s position in keeping child care centres open, saying that child care has become an essential service as other essential service workers (hospital staff, police, etc.) need child care to do their jobs, but added the province is working to problem-solve and come up with solutions to reduce risk for the public.
She also underscored the need for employers to adopt new practices.
“There’s no need for doctor’s notes, particularly in this position we’re in – we’re appealing to employers not to ask for doctors notes or require testing,” Henry said.
She once again reiterated the importance of individual steps to be taken, including hygiene and social distancing, and said there has been a shift in demographics, which originally focussed on people who had been travelling.
“Be calm, be safe, and we’re going to get through the next couple of weeks together,” she said.
She said those feeling the need to take further action could help out a great deal by donating blood.
“Canadian Blood Services has let us know there’s an urgent need for blood here in BC,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dix made an impassioned plea for everyone to do their part, pointing to the already widespread cooperation from businesses and individuals that he characterized as, “truly breathtaking”.
“To anyone who hasn’t joined in this effort, who has been reluctant to join in these very explicit measures we can do to help one another, to help protect one another’s heath, I’d say it’s not too late to join the fight,” he said. “We need you to join in and we need you to do it now, today, this moment, without judgment. It’s clearer every day that we are all in this together.
“This is a shared battle, a shared obligation.”
He said roughly 17,000 people have already been tested for the virus, a massive jump from an estimated 6,000 on March 6. He also said the newly-unveiled self-assessment tool has seen a remarkable response, with close to a million people having accessed it already. The healthlink line, 8-1-1, has also been fielding 3,000 to 4,000 calls a day.
While Henry called the provincial measures, “sometimes draconian,” she also said the response is currently focussed on compliance rather than enforcement.
“I’m not intending to issue an order at this point,” she said, encouraging businesses and communities to self-govern, for their own sake as well as everyone else’s.
Finally, she pointed out that it’s unclear what ‘back to normal’ will mean when this first wave of the virus passes.
“I think we will fundamentally change some of the ways we are doing things until there is a vaccine,” she said. “There are glimmers or hope, as the weather changes and other respiratory illnesses fade off … that will give us a reprieve.
“It’s unclear when we will be back to normal.”
In the interim, she stressed the need to ‘flatten the curve’ (which essentially means slowing the progress of the virus enough to ensure the peak crisis moments don’t overwhelm healthcare systems and resources, as it likely would if the bulk of patients sickened all at once).
If you or a family member have symptoms or need medical advice, call 811.
For up-to-date non-health information, including the latest travel restrictions and provincial and federal programs, call 1 888 COVID-19 or visit: gov.bc.ca/covid19
For the latest COVID-19 updates and statements, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/Search?q=COVID-19
The latest orders and directives from the provincial health officer can be found here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics