Although no more cases of COVID-19 in northern B.C. were reported in the province’s latest update Saturday afternoon, there were 92 new cases in the rest of the province - the highest-yet daily increase in B.C.
“It’s not unexpected, given where we are in the outbreak,” said BC public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, at Saturday’s media conference. “We’re continuing to do a high volume of tests and we’re targeting the people that are more likely to have the disease.
“It is the highest one-day number that we’ve had but as a percentage it still is less. We’re not seeing the percentage increase climb dramatically. It’s 92 over 844, it’s a little over 10 per cent and yesterday it was eight per cent. It just reminds us we’re in the midst of this right now and everything we do is really important to try to do the best we can to keep it at that lower rate and prevent transmission everywhere.”
Since the coronavirus outbreak was first confirmed in B.C. on Jan. 28 the number of cases has grown to 884, including 444 in the Vancouver Coastal health region, 291 in Fraser Health, 60 in Vancouver Island Health and 77 in Interior Health. There have been 12 cases in the Northern Health region.
One more death, in Vancouver Coastal, was reported Saturday, bringing the province’s total to 17.
Of the 81 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in the province, 31 are in Vancouver Coastal, 39 are in the Fraser region, six are in the Interior, three are on Vancouver Island and two are at UHNBC in Prince George.
Fifty-one patients now fighting the virus are in intensive care. Eighty per cent of the hospitalized patients with COVID-19 are on ventilators and Henry said those numbers have risen considerably over the past few days.
“Our critical care teams have been talking to their colleagues around the world and as we have more experience with treating people with COVID-19 they’ve recognized that putting people on a ventilator early protects health care workers because you don’t have to do an emergency intubation, putting a breathing tube down into somebody’s throat,” said Henry.
“But it also helps people recover from the virus faster, so if you support their breathing earlier it means they often stay in hospital less time and have better chance of recovery. That is something the critical care physicians have been implementing across B.C., and as more people have been entering hospital we are seeing an increase of people going into ICU and being put on a ventilator sooner rather than later because that seems to improve the outcome.”
A positive test was reported in a long-term care home in the Fraser health region, which brought the total in 12 care facilities in B.C. All are in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser regions
In B.C., 396 COVID-19 patients (45 per cent of all cases) have fully recovered. Health Minister Adrian Dix reported there are 4,295 vacant hospital beds in B.C.
The pandemic and resulting job losses has prompted an influx of hospital staff coming out of retirement or from other professions to return to their former jobs.
“There is significant interest in the number of people re-registering in the healthcare system,” said Dix. “We now have 28 new registrants as of (Friday) amongst doctors, 309 in nursing, and that includes registered nurses, licenced practical nurses, registered psychiatric nurses, nurse practitioners and health care assistants. We also have significant re-registering in allied health and we thank all of those for their commitment.”