BREAKING: Visits to B.C. emergency rooms down 50% in last three weeks - InfoNews

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BREAKING: Visits to B.C. emergency rooms down 50% in last three weeks

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaking at a press conference, Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
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April 01, 2020 - 4:01 PM

Visits to B.C. hospital emergency departments have dropped by 50 per cent over the last three weeks.

Regular calls for ambulances are also down by 15 per cent across the province.

B.C. Minister of Health Adrian Dix said the most recent number available showed there had been 1,311 calls for ambulances that day, while the province average was 1540. Visits to the emergency room saw a 50 per cent reduction going from 6,559 March 9, to 3,274 three weeks later.

The numbers were read out today, April 1, during a joint press conference with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Henry announced 53 new COVID-19 cases in the last 25 hours in B.C. taking the total number to 1,066. Over 850 of the cases were in the Lower Mainland. One new COVID-19 related fatality was reported.

There are seven more COVID-19 cases within Interior Health's region.

The doctor said the virus was now in two more long-term care homes taking the total number to 21 in B.C. Henry stressed that even a single COVID-19 case in a care worker at a home was treated as an outbreak.

Henry said there are two new cases at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver, which is the site of some of the earliest cases in the province.

Currently, there are 142 patients in hospital with COVID-19, and 67 of those are in intensive care. Over 600 people have fully recovered from the virus.

"It's hard to know how things are going," she said. "Right now we seem to be holding our own."

The doctor said the province was rolling out an ethical framework around COVID-19 which would include directions for health care workers if there became a time when there were more patients than ventilators.

"No individual will have to make these terrible decisions on their own," she said.

The doctor reiterated her call to stay connected while social distancing.

"We will get through this and we will get through this together," she said.

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