Taking temperature: Total COVID-19-related deaths in BC reach 100

There are 124 new cases of COVID-19 and 6 new deaths from the virus in BC since Thursday, bringing the total number of provincial cases to 1,948. Of those, 778 cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority region.

There are 96 people with the virus in BC who are hospitalized, of whom 41 are in critical care.

In today’s briefing, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry cited community outbreaks as being the main driver between the big jump in cases that has been seen in the past day — 95 new cases confirmed since Friday.

Of the new cases, 40 are related to the outbreak at the federal correctional facility in Mission. Over the past few days, staff with symptoms and all inmates at the facility have been systematically tested for COVID-19 in an effort to identify those with minimal symptoms and those who are asymptomatic.

Henry also noted the challenging environment of the correctional facility for effectively distancing and isolating people. There are now a total of 106 inmates and 12 staff who have tested positive at the facility. Two of the inmates are hospitalized.

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Other community outbreaks related to this jump include 16 new cases at the Superior Poultry plant outbreak, and 11 new cases related to the Kearl Lake industrial plant in Alberta. There are no new cases related to the United Poultry outbreak.

Visibly emotional, Henry also confirmed the first COVID-19 related death in one of BC’s First Nations communities.

“Our elders, in particular in First Nations communities, are culture and history keepers,” said Henry. “When they become ill and when they die, we all lose. And I want you to know that we feel that collective loss today.”

The number of deaths due to COVID-19 in BC has now reached 100 people.

Henry finished her briefing by acknowledging the unique challenges physical distancing poses for people who use drugs and those experiencing homelessness.

“Safe physical distancing and self-isolation if you’re ill can be really difficult when your housing is precarious, and this is further compounded for people who may also be living with mental health, substance use or addiction issues,” said Henry.

The acknowledgement follows today’s announcement that the province has acquired over 1,000 hotel rooms to provide housing for people living in encampments in Victoria and Vancouver.

Stay up to date on UBC information related to COVID-19 by visiting ubyssey.ca/covid-19, the websites of the BCCDC, the Public Health Agency of Canada or the World Health Organization. The province has set up a dedicated COVID-19 phone line at 1-888-COVID19 or text at 1-888-268-4319. For updates on UBC’s response to COVID-19, visit ubc.ca/campus-notifications/