Holding the the line in the number of new cases for the last 24 hours but making for the sad addition of three more deaths affecting families in BC, the Saturday information update from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reinforced much of the message of the week, of holding firm to the measures to help keep the curve of COVID-19 in check in BC.
For the day, Dr. Henry announced 29 new cases for a total of 1,647 cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia.
686 of the cases to date are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 680 are in the Fraser Health region, 97 are in the Island Health region, 150 are in the Interior Health region and 34 are in the Northern Health region., the latter making for an increase of one from Friday.
“We are saddened to report three new COVID-19 related deaths in the Fraser Health region, for a total of 81 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones.
There have been no new outbreaks in the last day. In total, 20 long-term care and assisted-living facilities, and one acute-care unit have active outbreaks. Outbreaks have been declared over at five facilities."
The Provincial Health Officer also updated the situation at the Mission Corrections Institution.
Advising that there are now 70 cases of COVID-19 associated with the Mission Institution federal correctional centre. Fraser Health officials continue to work with Correction Services Canada to manage this outbreak.
Dr Henry also noted that 987 people who had tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered and no longer require isolation.
Of the total COVID-19 cases, 115 individuals are hospitalized and 54 of those are in intensive care.
The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
Framing the current state of the COVID situation in BC as in the middle of a hurricane, Dr. Henry observed as to how British Columbians that have continued to follow the basic instructions and measures in place have assisted greatly to helping to bend the curve and stop those areas of transmission as they look to bring our rate to Zero.
"We can't lose sight of the fact that we continue to have people who are affected by this, we continue to have outbreaks, we continue to have transmission. And so we are not at the point where we can let up our guard.
The storm is still raging and you know tragically we see that in the fact that that people are still dying from this virus here in BC. The risk of a spike or another outbreak or more clusters in our communities is something that's a very real concern for me and we know it continues to happen"
Doctor Henry also offered up a glimpse of a summer of loosened restrictions perhaps, and how the province may look towards that period of time.
"The easing of restrictions when they come, will be gradual and will be slow and thoughtful. We took very quick action to get us into this; but we don't want all of the sacrifices that we have been doing across the province to be for naught. We need to make sure that when we open things up, we do it in a measured thoughtful way that protects us and protects all of us while opening up our economy and opening up our health system as we move forward."
Providing the province sees some improved and sustained results in the next two weeks, the Public Health Officer noted that in a best case scenario, the path forward could begin to be revealed at the end of this month or early May.
"We're not going to be taking any measures in the next two weeks, but we are planning, we are planning for what it's going to look like when we get to that point in May. Probably in the middle of May, where we are able to take those actions that will help to increase our Social connections , increase our Industrial and Business Connections and also increase opening up of our Health Care system"
During the Question and Answer portion of the briefing, among the themes raises was the the future for large community events in BC.
"Realistically we will not be having those big events where people gather together this summer ... That is a much riskier prospect than ever before, we do not have enough herd immunity or community immunity to protect everybody and allow that type of event happen ... those types of events large parades, large mass gatherings where we all come together those will not be happening this summer ... So I think we can think about how we can celebrate important milestones, important things in our lives in a way that allows us to have a safe distance and I think we should be planning that now, so things like the PNE are not likely to happen this year"
You can review the full statement from Friday here.
The BC Centre for Disease control has some valuable Coronavirus notes related to COVID-19 you can explore that information here.
Federal Government site
British Columbia Government site
The World Health Organization website also offers up the latest advisories on the global situation.
More from Northern Health can be reviewed here
You can review our archive of past statements and local information here.
Local governments and organizations have also provided for increased awareness of COVID-19 issues, the string of statements that came quickly at the end of the week can be reviewed here.
For notes from across Canada and British Columbia we have been archiving the latest items through our political portal Darcy McGee