B.C.'s COVID-19 death total rises to 69 with 11 new deaths; concerns at prison | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C.'s COVID-19 death total rises to 69 with 11 new deaths; concerns at prison

April 13, 2020 - 5:01 PM

VICTORIA - Health officials in British Columbia say they are doing their utmost to contain a COVID-19 outbreak at a federal medium-security prison where 35 people have tested positive and eight are in hospital.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday it's challenging "playing catch up" once the disease presents itself at facilities such as Mission Institution or long-term care homes for the elderly.

The prison, located about 70 kilometres east of Vancouver, has a capacity of 216. A nearby minimum-security site has room for 324, says Correctional Service Canada.

"We are working very hard to ensure that the transmission within that facility will be contained," Henry said at a news conference. "Unfortunately, there was quite a lot of transmission that happened before the outbreak was recognized and we are now seeing people who were exposed over the previous two weeks developing symptoms."

Henry reported 11 new COVID-19 deaths in B.C. since Saturday, which brings the province's total to 69. She announced 45 new COVID-19 cases, increasing the total number to 1,490.

Henry said 137 people are in hospital, with 58 of those in intensive care. She said the outbreak remains in 20 long-term care facilities.

Fraser Health, the Correctional Service of Canada and B.C. Centre for Disease Control are involved in support services at Mission Institution, she said.

"Our priority, of course, is to protect all of those who are in the facility," Henry said.

She said one positive case of COVID-19 has also been confirmed at the Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver. Several other COVID-19 tests conducted at the correctional centre have been negative, said Henry.

She said health officials at West Kelowna have confirmed one more COVID-19 case among a group of temporary workers at a nursery operation who are now in quarantine, bringing the total to 20 cases.

Henry praised the efforts of most people in B.C. to curb the spread of the virus by practising physical distancing and frequent hand washing and staying home as much as possible. She said B.C. Ferries reported an 80 per cent decrease in vehicle traffic over the Easter holiday weekend.

Henry said some travel remains essential, but "I thank you all for doing what you can to limit your need for travel. We have been united in keeping our fire wall strong across the province."

Henry did not comment directly on a video by Vancouver documentary filmmaker, whose anti-lockdown production received thousands of views.

"There are some people who are trying to make a name for themselves," she said. "But we know most people are following the rules and that is making a difference."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2020.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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