A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past a boarded up shop in downtown Vancouver, Monday, April 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C. reports 5 new COVID-19 deaths as total test positive cases near 1,700

The number of patients in hospital is currently 104, with 49 in ICU

The total number of test positive cases in B.C. has risen to 1,699, with 52 new cases since Saturday, Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday (April 20).

B.C. recorded five new deaths in that 48-hour period, bringing the total to 86 due to COVID-19. A total of 1,039 people have recovered.

The number of patients in hospital is currently 104, with 49 in ICU. On Saturday, there were 115 people hospitalized and 54 in intensive care. There are 4,309 empty beds in B.C.

There is a new longterm facility with a COVID-19 outbreak; Chartwell Willows in Maple Ridge.

Henry reiterated that gatherings and events will be limited this summer, and gatherings that are able to go ahead will have to continue to be physically distanced and kept to under 50 people. The restrictions currently in place will not be loosened in April, she noted.

READ MORE: Summer events, parades, large weddings off the table this summer: Henry

Asked about some venues and stores that are conducting temperature screenings, Henry said she didn’t think they were warranted.

“I don’t actually feel like temperature screening is particularly helpful,” she said.

“The most important thing is for people to recognize and stay away if they’re not feeling well at all.”

Henry said while some places will reopen and some rules will relax in the months to happen, it will be trial and error as B.C. figures out how to reopen in a new COVID-19 affected world.

“Our new normal is going to be a modification of things we have had in place for the past few months,” she said.

“We are not yet through this storm… we can only make changes we want when we have sustained downward trend.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix said it would be a “significant amount of time” until a vaccine was available and that until then, it was up to the people of British Columbia to avoid causing new spikes in COVID-19 cases.

“All of this depends on all of us continue to flatten the curve,” he said.

Dix said there are 137 people housed in provincial quarantine facilities in B.C., after the province introduced isolation plan checks for people coming in earlier this month.

Dix said use of “alternate” sources for personal protective equipment is coming for B.C. next week.

A breakdown of the total cases, by health authority: 700 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 705 in Fraser Health, 102 in Island Health, 153 in Interior Health and 39 in Northern Health.

READ MORE: Canada-U.S. border restrictions extended another 30 days


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