- Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie will give her daily update at 3 p.m. PT
- 1,795 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in B.C.
- 90 people have died of infection with the novel coronavirus.
- 103 COVID-19 patients are in hospital, including 46 in critical care.
- 1,079 people have recovered from the disease.
- The federal government has announced $1.1 billion in funding for vaccine and virus research.
After weeks of relatively steady growth in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C., this week has seen a sudden spike.
On Wednesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 71 new cases of the novel coronavirus, for a total of 1,795 to date. Those numbers include new outbreaks in three long-term care homes in the Fraser Health region.
The province has now seen 90 people die of COVID-19. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 103 COVID-19 patients in hospital, down from a peak of 149 on April 4. Forty-six patients are currently being treated in intensive care.
A total of 1,079 people have recovered from the disease.
There are currently 19 active outbreaks at long-term care homes in B.C., as well as one in an acute care unit of Ridge Meadows Hospital. Seventy-seven people have tested positive for the virus at Mission Institution, a federal prison, while 28 employees of a United Poultry processing plant in Vancouver have also been infected.
Applications for $1,000 benefit open May 1
The province on Thursday said applications for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will open May 1. It is the tax-free, one-time $1,000 payment announced in March for B.C. residents whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19.
To be eligible, applicants must also meet the eligibility requirements for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, among other criteria.
Abbotsford opens emergency response centre
A new emergency response centre is opening in Abbotsford to help those living on the streets and in shelters better mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The centre will have spaces to help with physical distancing, mobile showers and weekly meal service.
Individuals will be referred to the centre by Fraser Health. The centre will be staffed 24/7 and can provide those in need with access to primary care, harm reduction and overdose prevention services.
It will be operated by the Lookout Housing and Health Society at the Bakerview Mennonite Brethren Church on Clearbrook Road.
$1.1B for vaccine, virus research
The federal government announced Thursday it is spending $1.1 billion to help develop, test and manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine. Most of the new money is set aside to fund vaccine development and clinical trials, but a portion of the money will also be used to determine how widely the virus has spread across the country.
“Until we have a vaccine or significant treatment, we’re not going to be able to talk about getting back to normal,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
Top stories today
- A family is sharing more about their late mother’s life, hoping her story makes others think of real people instead of numbers when statistics are released on COVID-19 cases and deaths.
- Fraser Health says all inmates and staff at the Mission Institution will be tested for COVID-19.
- Premier John Horgan wants to improve provincial benefits for sick employees, following a large COVID-19 outbreak at a Vancouver poultry processing plant.
- Vancouver families of students with special needs could have the option of sending their children back to brick-and-mortar school buildings next week.
- Indigenous Friendship Centres across Canada are receiving $3.75 million from Ottawa to deal with COVID-19, but B.C. branches say that’s not enough to meet demand that’s grown 200 per cent during the pandemic.
- Vancouver’s mayor says the financial help being offered by the B.C. government is a “poison chalice” because of the terms it would impose on the city.
Health officials widely agree the most important thing you can do to prevent coronavirus and other illnesses is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.
The World Health Organization said more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 infections are estimated to be mild.
What’s happening elsewhere in Canada
As of 5 p.m. PT Wednesday, there were 2,074 COVID-19-related deaths in Canada, plus two reported COVID-19-linked deaths of Canadians abroad, according to a CBC News tally based on provincial and local health data, as well as CBC reporting.
There are 40,190 confirmed and presumptive cases, and 13,994 resolved cases among the provinces and territories that make such data public.
The numbers are not a complete picture, as they don’t account for people who haven’t been tested, those being investigated as a potential case and people still waiting for test results.
For a look at what’s happening across the country and the world, check the CBC interactive case tracker.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common symptoms include:
But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Stay home. Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority or 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.
Non-medical information about COVID-19 is available in B.C. from 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. PT, seven days a week at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).
What can I do to protect myself?
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
- Keep at least two metres away from people who are sick.
- When outside the home, keep two metres away from other people.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Masks won’t fully protect you from infection, but can help prevent you from infecting others.
More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government’s website.
If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org