B.C. continues to scale up hospital resources as COVID-19 cases continue to be confirmed by testing, with 92 new cases reported March 28 for a total of 884.
“We know that people who have been exposed in the past two weeks will begin to get sick,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said, emphasizing the need to keep isolation and physical distancing measures up.
Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix reminded people to remain in a “virtual world” as much as possible, preventing further transmissions that will take up to two weeks to develop symptoms.
The total of 884 positive tests in B.C. includes the people who have recovered and been cleared by further testing, which is up to 396 people or 45 per cent of the total.
There are now 12 long-term care homes where at least one resident or staff member has tested positive for the new coronavirus, six each in Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions. There has been one additional death in the Vancouver Coastal region, for a total of 17 COVID-19 related deaths in B.C.
By region, the total positive tests, including those recovered, is 444 in Vancouver Coastal, 291 in Fraser Health, 60 on Vancouver Island, 77 in the Interior Health region including the Okanagan and Kootenays, and 12 positive tests in Northern Health.
Currently, there are 81 people in hospital for COVID-19 related illness, 52 of them in intensive care.
Health Canada officials looked to B.C.’s modelling results for the first evidence that B.C.’s infection rate is slowing as a result of pandemic restrictions on travel. Ottawa raised its restrictions Saturday by barring people with COVID-19 symptoms from domestic air and rail travel.
B.C.’s restrictions on gatherings, travel, schools and restaurants are showing results as the province plans for its coronavirus hospital needs for the critical next two weeks, Henry said March 27.
In his daily briefing from his Ottawa home on March 28, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also cited B.C.’s results as the first province to confirm COVID-19 cases.
“Encouraging signs is something we want to see, we want to see a decline in the rate of transmission,” Trudeau said. “[In B.C.] it happened because two weeks ago people heeded these instructions on social distancing, staying home.”
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control continues to track cases and compare them to international rates including Italy, Spain and Hubei province in China, where the novel coronavirus originated late in 2019.
B.C. health authorities have identified 17 “primary COVID” hospital care sites, and is planning to use all hospital sites as needed to meet demand. Total ventilator-capable beds currently are at 705, including beds and equipment usually used for surgical patients.
Excluding maternity, pediatrics, mental health, rehab and palliative care beds, B.C.’s bed capacity is 1,447 in Fraser Health, 1,007 for Interior Health, 1,424 for Island Health, 412 for Northern Health and 1,320 for Vancouver Coastal Health.