FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry listens during a news conference regarding the novel coronavirus COVID-19, in Vancouver, on Saturday, March 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

28% of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases have recovered: provincial health officer

Total case count grows to at least 617

Nearly one-third of the total COVID-19 patients in B.C. have recovered, the provincial health officer said Tuesday (March 24).

Dr. Bonnie Henry says 28 per cent of B.C.’s cases have recovered, even as the number of new ones grew.

Henry said the first two days of the week saw 145 new cases, with the province’s total hitting 617.

“We are seeing escalating cases across British Columbia. No community is immune,” Henry said.

The virus has spread to two new care homes, she added: one resident at Evergreen Heights in White Rock and one staff member at Little Mountain Place in Vancouver.

Henry confirmed reports that a dentist who attended the Pacific Dental Conference has died. He was in the Vancouver Coastal Health area, Henry said, but said she could not confirm if he had died as a result of COVID-19. There are 32 cases related to the event in B.C.

Henry said the key in B.C.’s fight against COVID-19 was to slow new cases to a “trickle not a flood,” in order to keep the healthcare system from being overwhelmed.

MONDAY UPDATE: B.C. reports 3 new COVID-19 deaths but 100 people have recovered, Henry says

Health Minister Adrian Dix said hospital bed occupancy is at 66 per cent across the province, down from an average of 103.5 per cent. He said the critical care bed occupancy rate is at 55 per cent.

Dix said the province is doing about 3,500 tests a day.

He reiterated the need for 100 per cent compliance with social distancing and self-isolation rules.

“The next few weeks will be very very difficult… but we must make the efforts now,” Dix said.

READ MORE: B.C. COVID-19 tests up to 3,500 a day, care home staffing to change

READ MORE: $1,000 payment for COVID-19 affected workers won’t come till May

Henry said she did not believe B.C. would head the way of Italy, which has seen more than 69,000 cases and 6,820 deaths from COVID-19.

“I really do think that our testing strategy, early on, helped us understand what was happening in our community and when we started to have community spread.”

Henry said she could not comment on the B.C. death rate among its COVID-19 cases. She said that while 13 deaths out of 672 cases may seem like a high death rate – about two per cent – but that it is an inaccurate way to measure. Ten of those deaths are associated with an outbreak at the Lynn Valley Care Centre, Henry said, noting that this skews the numbers.

“We consider that as one event, rather than as 10 individual events,” she said.

“It also reinforces the importance of all the work we need to do to protect our elders and those most vulnerable, particularly in our longterm care and assisted living facilities.”

More to come.


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