Five more deaths in BC from COVID, but hospitalizations down

The number of people in hospital and intensive care have been dropping over the last two days

There have been five more deaths from COVID-19 in B.C., but hospitalizations continue to drop.

There were 45 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 between Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing the total cases to 1,336. But the total number of those who have recovered is now up to 838, meaning a significant number of people now have immunity.

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There were five new deaths since Tuesday, bringing the total to 48. But hospital and intensive care numbers are down. There are 135 people in hospital, down from yesterday’s 138, and 61 patients in intensive care, down from Tuesday’s 66.

Public health officer Bonnie Henry said her office is working with Canada Border Services Agency to enforce new regulations under the Quarantine Act that will require any B.C. resident returning home from abroad, including the U.S., to have an approved self-isolation plan in place or face a government imposed 14-day quarantine.

People returning from other countries is one of the “gaps in our firewall," Henry said.

“Part of that is ensuring that people who come back from travelling overseas ... are able to join our firewall to make sure that they have the means to do what they need to do to self-isolate for 14 days,” Henry said.

“That may mean, for some people, that they spend some time in a quarantine facility that we will be partnering with the federal government on, until the important pieces that they need are in place to be able to self-isolate effectively at home."

The growth of COVID-19 in B.C. has been slower and lower than Ontario and Quebec. Asked why that was, Henry said it is was part luck and partly because people are, for the most part, doing what they have been asked to do.

“Part of it, I think was our early testing strategy – having a very wide net for testing," she said. "Part of it is preparedness, part of it is timing, and part of it is, quite frankly, luck. But I also think, right now, what we’ve been doing in the last couple of weeks, and the buy-in from everybody in all communities in this province, has made the difference.”

One looming concern is the upcoming long weekend. People are being asked to stay home, not to travel to summer homes or participate in large gatherings for things like Easter celebrations.

If there is any outbreak resulting from the long weekend, it will take about a week before health officials start to see a spike in new cases.

Here are the daily case counts for April 8, compared with numbers from April 7 in brackets:

New COVID-19 cases: 45 (25)

BC Total: 1,336 (1,299)

Deaths: 48 (43)

Hospitalized: 135 (138)

Intensive care: 61 (66)

Recovered: 838 (805)

Confirmed cases by region:

* Vancouver Coastal Health: 615

* Fraser Health: 487

* Island Health: 81

* Interior Health: 130

* Northern Health: 23

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