299 cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health since Friday, 3,289 in B.C. | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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299 cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health since Friday, 3,289 in B.C.

B.C. health minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provide an update on COVID-19, Tuesday, May 26, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.
April 12, 2021 - 3:53 PM

Don't leave your hometown right now, B.C.'s provincial health officer said on another day of heavy new caseloads.

"There are things that we need to do now, and that includes staying home, staying in your immediate neighbourhood as much as possible," Dr. Bonnie Henry said. "If you live in North Vancouver, you should not be travelling to Langley, or to Richmond. If you live in the Lower Mainland, you should not be travelling to the island. If you live in Penticton, you should not be going to Sun Peaks or to Kelowna right now. We need to only do those types of travel, if it's essential, and nothing more."

But she still encouraged everyone to get outside every day.

"We know there are things that we can do safely, and mostly that means doing them outside, and keeping our distance and our safety measures in place for our own physical, but emotional and mental health. Everybody should go outside, every day, whether it's in your backyard or your immediate neighbourhood. Take your family, take your pet, but find some time to go outside and stay small, and stay within your household, your work or your school cohort. Only seeing a small number of people from outside your household outside is allowed, but it needs to be done in a small way, and we are discouraging even that right now."

From Friday to Saturday there were 1,283 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed, from Saturday to Sunday there were an additional 1,036 and in the last 24 hours another 970 new cases, Dr. Bonnie Henry said today, April 12.

This amounted to a total of 3,289 new cases over the past weekend, raising the total number of people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in British Columbia to 112,829. Of all these cases, 740 are people who live in the Vancouver Coastal Health Region, 1,957 people live in the Fraser Health Region, 167 in the Vancouver Island Health Region, 299 People live in the Interior Health Region and 125 people in the Northern Health Region.

Usually, Dr. Henry offers up some specifics on the variants of concern, but she said that wasn't available. She did, however, point out that they now account for half of all active cases, which are currently at 9,937.

Of these cases, 368 people are in hospital currently and 121 people are in ICU or critical care. In addition to high case counts, this weekend there were 18 deaths — two within Interior Health — raising the provincial death toll to 1,513.

"This is, I don't need to say, our third wave, and knowing this, we need to chart our best path forward to manage this wave in British Columbia," she said. "We have recognized from the very beginning that the impacts of shutdowns and the measures that we take in public health, don't affect people equally, and that has been an important consideration that we have taken all along in our management of this pandemic here in British Columbia. But the goals have been the same."

The focus of health officials, she said, has been on keeping people from getting sick, and particularly to keep people from being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19.

"But at the same time, we have put in measures to ensure that our healthcare system can still be there for everybody who needs health care when they need it in British Columbia and that can be done safely," she said. "But along with these important (efforts to) minimize the impact of this virus. We also want to minimize societal disruption... the physical, emotional, and mental health of everybody in British Columbia is something that we take to heart. And for that, for us, has meant taking only as many restrictions as we need, to suppress the virus and ensure that our healthcare system is functioning and that people are protected as best we can."

To that end, businesses, she said, have been kept open. But transmission of variants of concern is making some of these settings riskier.

"Often, we are transmitting the virus to those that are closest to our families, our communities, our workplaces. As we face the surge in new cases and hospitalizations, we need to focus on the things that will have the biggest impact to break the chains of transmission and slow the spread," she said.

Tonight, new expedited workplace closure provincial health officer orders will come into effect.

This order, she said, is an alternative to shutting down sectors by instead shutting own businesses where there has been an exposure for 10 days.

"Public health has been working hard with businesses that have been impacted by this virus and it's through no fault of one business," she said. "It's not about blaming them, it's about supporting businesses when this virus comes into your workplace to make sure that we can stop the transmission and prevent it from spreading to workers."

This means public health teams with the assistance of WorkSafe B.C., will continue to expand the province's ability to close businesses for 10 days when there have been transmissions in that workplace and make sure the COVID safety plans are in place to protect everybody in those situations.

"The list of closed businesses will be published on the health authority websites and the CCDC so that we all know where we're having these challenges," she said. "This is about supporting businesses when COVID makes its way into those workplaces. We want to keep businesses open, and keep people working because we know how important that is not just for the economy, but for our health, our physical and mental health, and our communities."

While toeing the line when it comes to public health orders was the key message of the day, Dr. Henry said the vaccine plan is rolling out as fast as possible.

Health officials delivered 1,112,101 doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines across British Columbia, and of those 87,744 were second doses.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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