Dr. Bonnie Henry estimates up to 3,000 British Columbians have COVID-19 - InfoNews

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Dr. Bonnie Henry estimates up to 3,000 British Columbians have COVID-19

British Columbia Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
March 31, 2020 - 6:00 PM

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in B.C. rapidly approaches 1,000, the actual number of people who have contracted the disease is double or triple that number.

And, with hundreds more cases expected to be confirmed before the “curve” of the disease peaks then falls, many more thousands will stay at home with minor symptoms.

“We really are in a critical juncture, right now, in B.C.,” Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said at her daily briefing today, March 30. “The next two weeks – we’re in our second incubation period - this is a critical time for us where we’ll see if our hospitals will continue to trickle or we’re going to see dramatic increases.”

Last week she explained how the province is freeing up hospital beds in anticipation of a worst-case scenario that will see thousands of hospitalizations.

On Friday, she announced there were 884 confirmed cases in B.C. Using an estimate based on cases per million residents, that translated to 2,000 to 3,000 cases in the community that were not confirmed, she said.

She’s been telling people with minor symptoms to stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days. Those cases are not included in the daily confirmed case totals.

Today, March 30, the confirmed case number hit 970.

Also on Friday, she outlined four models showing how many hospital beds will be needed as the number of people getting seriously ill from COVID-19 increases. At that time 66 people were in hospital.

That modelling showed a best case scenario (based on South Korean numbers) of needing 119 acute and critical care beds at the peak of the outbreak. There are 106 people in hospital today.

A worst case scenario (based on Northern Italy) showed the need for 3,120 acute and critical care beds.

The modelling did not give a projection for the total number of confirmed or community cases at the peak of the outbreak but, if 3,000 people end up in hospital with COVID-19 when it peaks there will be many more in the community getting better at home.

Henry is hoping the peak of the pandemic is reached this week but warns that may be optimistic.


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