Taking temperature: April 3 COVID-19 update

Following its announcement yesterday of $3.5 million in funds to assist post-secondary students in BC, the province announced today it is setting aside an additional $1.5 million to support Indigenous post-secondary students.

There are 53 new cases of COVID-19 and 4 new deaths from the virus today, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 1,174. Of those cases, 541 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority region.

There are now 146 people with the virus who are hospitalized and 64 of those people are in critical care.

Following its announcement yesterday of $3.5 million in funds to assist post-secondary students in BC, the province announced today it is setting aside an additional $1.5 million to support Indigenous post-secondary students.

Today’s provincial briefing also touched on BC’s health care capacity as well as the impact of US President Donald Trump’s use of the Defense Production Act to order 3M to stop producing N95 masks for Canada and Latin America.

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While Minister of Health Adrian Dix expressed disappointment at the US’s decision, he said that “tit-for-tat” retaliation would not be beneficial for either Canadians or Americans. He reiterated this sentiment in response to a question about whether BC paper mills that supply manufacturers like 3M with raw materials should stop shipping those products to the US.

“We shouldn’t respond with retaliation, we should respond by insisting that we work together because we are genuinely as a whole world in this together,” Dix said.

Providing an update on the capacity of the province’s health care system, Dix said despite the increasing hospitalizations due to the virus, only 59 per cent of acute care beds are occupied and over 4,000 still remain available. Just over 54 per cent of critical care beds are occupied.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry emphasized again today that BC is “in the thick” of its experience with COVID-19, so continued compliance with public health orders is critical.

“The risk remains high for everyone here in British Columbia,” she said. “This is our time to hold the line.”

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/