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What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on May 8, 2020 – CBC.ca

THE LATEST:

  • 29 new cases of COVID-19 making for a total of 2,315 cases province-wide.
  • Dr. Bonnie Henry announced one additional death in the Fraser Health Authority.
  • To date 127 people have died from COVID-19 in the province.
  • Of those who have tested positive, 1,579 people have recovered.
  • B.C. lost 396,500 jobs in March and April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • TransLink has suspended planned reductions to its service and rescinded layoffs issued last month.
  • B.C.’s Friday COVID-19 numbers will be updated in a statement released at 3 p.m. PT.
  • Resuming elective surgeries in B.C. — and catching up on the backlog — could take two years and cost $250 million, officials said.
  • Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said the city is taking a go-slow approach to reopening services and facilities.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 29 new cases and one additional death from COVID-19 on Friday.

To date, 127 people have died from the virus in the province, while of those who have tested positive, 1,579 people have recovered.

Henry said on Friday that 73 people remain in hospital for treatment, 20 are in intensive care.

She said the province had flattened the curve of infections, but asked residents to keep up efforts to maintain physical distancing, even as restrictions lift.

“We must continue with what we have been doing, because it is working,” she said in a statement. “We have flattened our curve and must keep it there.”

Job loses

B.C. lost 396,500 jobs in March and April according to new data released Friday.

The provincial unemployment rate now sits at 11.5 per cent, up from 5.5 per cent at the start of the year.

Finance Minister Carole James says the numbers are staggering, and emblematic of crisis that has hit the entire country during COVID-19.

Nearly half the job losses — 47 per cent — are in the food service and retail sectors.

The Keefer Bar manager Amber Bruce is pictured inside her closed bar in Vancouver on March 17. Almost half of B.C.’s 396,500 COVID-19-related job losses have come in the food service and retail sectors. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the emergency wage subsidy program will be extended past June, with details to be released next week.

The next daily briefing by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will be on Saturday at noon.

Meanwhile, B.C. is preparing to gradually reopen the province, but Henry is cautioning against abandoning physical distancing and other measures that have helped flatten the curve so far.

The premier has said the provincial restart will happen in phases, spaced out in two- to four-week time periods. It will begin with allowing small gatherings, like backyard barbecues, as long as those participating aren’t sick or showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

Absent from the announcement was an official reopening date and an exhaustive list of hard-and-fast rules for what British Columbians can and cannot do under the new guidelines. The onus has been left on the public to collectively make choices that will limit regular interactions to below 60 per cent of normal and prevent a resurgence of the virus.

People enjoy the warm weather at Mount Pleasant Park in Vancouver on May 7. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

British Columbians could be dining out at restaurants starting June 1, but reduced capacity and physical barriers mean it’ll be a different experience than what we’re used to.

The province said it could take up to two years and at least $250 million in extra funding to address the extensive backlog of elective surgeries postponed in B.C. since the peak of the pandemic.

The federal government announced on Thursday a $4-billion program to top up the wages of essential workers. Provincial governments will contribute $1 billion of the funds and will be in charge of determining which workers receive the help.

READ MORE: How B.C. plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions

At a briefing Thursday afternoon, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said he plans to poll residents and meet with leaders of various industries in the city to determine how to reopen community facilities.

Libraries, non-essential community centres, playgrounds and outdoor recreation facilities like tennis courts have been shut down for more than six weeks in Vancouver and similar closures have taken place across B.C. communities.

Some Vancouver gym owners say they’re in no rush to reopen fitness studios and are looking at measures to minimize risk, including reducing class sizes and increasing cleaning.

Top COVID-19 stories today

Important reminders:

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 10 p.m. PT Thursday, Canada had 64,922 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19. A CBC News tally of COVID-19-related deaths based on provincial figures, regional health data and CBC’s reporting listed 4,524 deaths in Canada, with another two abroad.

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:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

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.

Find information about COVID-19 from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

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 impact@cbc.ca

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