No new cases of COVID-19 reported in northern B.C.

The province reported no new cases of COVID-19 in northern B.C. on Wednesday, but 71 new cases in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.

There are 40 lab-confirmed cases in the north, with two people currently reported in hospital, both in intensive care. Thirty-two people have recovered from the coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease. There were 2,687 tests conducted in the region as of Wednesday,.

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Of the coronavirus cases in Northern Health, 39% entered the region by International and flight travel, and 30% through local transmission. The rest is unknown and still being investigated.

Provincially, there were 71 new test positives reported April 22, which brings B.C.'s total to 1,795. There were three new deaths reported, all in long-term care homes, bringing the total now to 90 province-wide.

Across B.C., 1,079 people have recovered. There are 103 patients hospitalized (-6), and 46 are critical or intensive care (-5). The rest are at home in isolation.

There are 745 cases in the Vancouver-Coastal region (+38), 747 in the Fraser health region (+32), as well as 153 in the Interior (no change), and 110 on Vancouver Island (+1).

The BC Centre for Disease Control says the true number of cases is likely greater than that reported.

Across the border, there are 150 cases and 14 deaths in northern Alberta.

Premier John Horgan stressed earlier today the importance of not rushing to get rid of COVID-19 measures.

While new confirmed cases of the virus has remained somewhat steady over the past several weeks, a new outbreak has recently been identified at a Vancouver poultry facility. 

Premier Horgan pointed to this new outbreak, where at least 28 workers have tested positive for COVID-19, as evidence that British Columbians can't get complacent in the fight against the pandemic.

“I think the public can expect that I'll have something to say about how we open up sooner than the middle of May, but we need to be guided by the science,” he said. “Although we've seen some very positive indicators in the numbers that Dr. Henry presents daily ... the outbreak in the poultry facility is a warning call that we can't get too complacent.”

Horgan said that early indications from the investigation at the United Poultry Co. have found that several workers chose not to stay home from work, despite showing early symptoms of illness, as they were concerned about losing wages.

The people of B.C. shouldn't be taking comfort in the early success the province has seen in slowing the spread of the disease, Horgan said, adding that rushing to ease some restrictions that have been put in place could do more harm than good.

“British Columbians don't want to give up the progress we've made for an early start that will put us back on our heels and perhaps in further restrictions as the summer proceeds,” he said.

“We want to make sure that we have a seamless integration back into as much normalcy as we can find and I'll be making significant announcements about that directly to the people of British Columbia when the time is right.”

Dr Bonnie Henry also said today there have been new community outbreaks in the province and in three long-term care homes in the Fraser health region.

"This is very concerning to me and all of us," Dr Henry said. "This tell us we have more work to do to break the chains of transmission."

— with a report from Jess Fedigan in Prince George and Nicholas Johansen in Kelowna

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

© Copyright Alaska Highway News

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