VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — B.C. recorded three COVID-19 deaths and 12 cases on Thursday, as well as a new outbreak at a federal prison in Abbotsford.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced the number of intensive care patients has fallen to eight, down from 24 at the beginning of the month, while 43 people remain in hospital.
She added a single case of the virus has been reported at Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford.
The Correctional Service of Canada confirmed a prisoner tested positive at Mountain Institution Wednesday after transferring from Matsqui Institution, a medium-security prison in Abbotsford.
“We are working very closely with our federal correctional colleagues and the Fraser Health Authority to ensure that we are doing everything to prevent any additional new cases,” Henry said.
“This person was identified early and has very few risky contacts, so got some good thing for us.”
An earlier outbreak at Mission Institution spread to 120 prisoners, and one man died. Only one case at that prison is still active, according to the correctional service.
BC's #COVID19 update:
*Three more deaths (152)
*12 new cases (2,479)
*Outbreak over at United Poultry in #Vancouver (36 cases), facility re-opens
*43 in hospital, eight in ICU
*Recovery rate holds at 81%
*40,000 travellers screened in BC so far (coming via land/air)
— Sonia Aslam (@SoniaSAslam) May 21, 2020
Henry added the outbreak at United Poultry in Vancouver, where more than 30 workers were infected, is now over.
She reported no other new outbreaks, but said that 14 remain active at care homes and that one at the Windermere Care Centre in Vancouver is over.
To date, B.C. has recorded 152 COVID-19 deaths and 2,479 cases, while the recovery rate is holding at 81 per cent.
Henry said 62 per cent of the deaths have been men.
“So our stats are slightly different from what we’re seeing in other provinces across Canada,” but added they are in keeping with international numbers.
Looking ahead to a ‘second wave’
Health Minister Adrian Dix reported 2,586 elective surgeries of the approximately 30,000 that were delayed in March have now been rescheduled, and committed to completing all of those cancelled.
But doing so depends on limiting transmission of the virus and a second wave.
“As Dr. Henry has made clear, a second wave of COVID-19 is very likely, given the history of pandemics,” Dix said.
“Surgery renewal is shaped by COVID-19. Our success will be dictated by future events, such as the resurgence of COVID-19, or the potential for a second wave,” he added.
“Physical distancing saves lives, it stops the spread, it flattens the curve, and it gets people the surgeries they need. Physical distancing saves lives. Spread the message, not the virus.”
Henry pointed to South Korea, where there’s been inadvertent transmission of the virus from someone who went to a number of nightclubs and spread it to hundreds of people.
“So those are the types of situations we want to avoid right now,” she said.
Re potential for second wave
The pattern with other coronavirus is they come back in cooler months so chances are we will see with this virus as well. So even if we can control over summer chances are it will be more prevalent again in the fall.#bcpoli #covid19 @news1130
— LizaYuzda (@LizaYuzda) May 21, 2020
Henry expects a second save in the fall, given historical patterns, and said the key is to be prepared.
“If we look historically at all of the pandemics that we have historical data about, that is what has happened and sometimes we’ve seen a bigger wave in the second wave. “Sometimes it’s been smaller, so we don’t know what that’s going to look like, but we need to watch very carefully to see,” she said.
“That’s why I think it’s so important for us to maintain the lid on the numbers of cases that we’re seeing through the summer, so that we’re not starting off with a lot of spread in our community.”
– with files from Kathryn Tindale