Pandemic update: one new death, 21 care homes with COVID-19

Total COVID-19 cases in B.C. at 1,066, more than half recovered

BC Health Minister Adrian Dix and public health officer Bonnie Henry. | BC Government

There have been 53 additional COVID-19 cases since Tuesday, bringing the total to 1,066, and one additional death, bringing the total to 25.

Of the 1,066 people with the COVID-19 virus, 142 are in hospital, 67 in intensive care and 606 have recovered. There are now 21 long-term care homes with at least one case of COVID-19 infection, either in a resident or staff member.

“Right now we seem to be holding our own,” said public health officer Bonnie Henry. "We will get through this, no matter what happens. But we do have a few more weeks to go.”

Henry said a new “ethical framework” is now in place for doctors who may have to make “terrible decisions” about who should and should not get treatment, like ventilation, in the event the health care system is overwhelmed.

“Part of that is a structure for how those decisions will be made so that no individual clinician or health care worker will have to make those entirely terrible decisions on their own,” Henry.

Physicians in Italy have had to make life and death decisions on who to treat and who to let die.

B.C. is not at that point yet, and it is hoped it never will be.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said there are 4,192 hospital beds available in B.C. Only 55% of the available critical care beds are currently occupied, Dix said.

He added that there has been a drop in ambulance calls -- no doubt related to less traffic, as more and more people work from home -- and less use of hospital emergency rooms.

On March 9, he said there were 6,559 emergency rooms visits in B.C., which has fallen to 3,274 as of March 30.

In her daily briefing today, Henry was asked if there was a place for at-home test kits that are now on the market. She said these tests are not verified and have had to many false-positive results to recommend.

"Right now there is no at-home test that is reliable," she said.

Of the 1,066 COVID-19 cases in B.C., 497 in the Vancouver Health region, 367 in the Fraser Health region, 72 on Vancouver Island, 114 in the Interior Health region and 16 in the Northern Health region.

To help front-line health care workers and other essential service workers who have young children, the provincial government is now giving them priority for government child care.

Priority will be given to essential service workers, like health care providers, with children five and under. They will be given priority to child care spaces in their communities. These essential service workers include workers in public health, health services, social services, law enforcement, and first responders.

Forms are available by calling 1-888-338-6622 and selecting Option 4, or online.

Here are the numbers for Wednesday, April 1, with numbers for March 31 in brackets:

New – 53  (43)

Total – 1,066 (1,013)

Total deaths – 25 (24)

Hospitalized – 142 (128)

In intensive care – 67 (61)

Recovered – 606 (570)