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Taking temperature: April 30 COVID-19 update

There are 25 new cases of COVID-19 in BC today, bringing the total number of provincial cases to 2,112. Of those, 815 cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority region and 961 cases are in the Fraser Health Authority region.

There are 82 people with the virus in BC who are hospitalized, with 30 in critical care. There are two new deaths related to COVID-19 in the province, one of whom was a senior citizen in a long-term care facility.

There are now outbreaks at four poultry plants in the province after positive cases were confirmed yesterday at the Sofina Foods Lilydale plant in Port Coquitlam and Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry in Yarrow. There have been 12 new positive cases at the federal correctional facility in Mission, for a total of 120 cases.

In this afternoon’s briefing, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry marked today as the 100th day since the province issued its first statement on what at the time was termed the novel coronavirus. Since the first warning, continued Henry, the province has been committed to keeping the public informed on the risks of the virus and the information needed to stay safe.

“Our lives, our businesses, our communities have dramatically changed in the last 100 days,” said Henry. “And yet one thing has really stayed the same. And that is the unwavering commitment of everybody here in British Columbia to work together, to keep our firewall strong, to do everything we can to protect our communities, our seniors and elders in particular, and our families across British Columbia.”

In the coming days the province plans to release more information about modelling the epidemic — such as who has been affected by the virus and where in the province they are located — that has been used to guide the province’s response thus far.

This information has also guided BC’s plan moving forward, which Premier John Horgan will be speaking on next week.

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Henry also spoke to expanding social circles in the near future.

In BC, it has been maintained throughout the pandemic that citizens should be going outside with their at-home groups for release when going through stressful times. Moving into the province’s next phase of the virus, Henry continued, might allow citizens to expand their social circles, but in a way that is thoughtful and intentional.

“The more groups and people that we have connections with, the more chances [there] are that we might transmit this virus,” said Henry.

Henry went on to say that there will be no large group gatherings or indoor parties this upcoming summer. Increasing the size of social circles will have to be done in a way that protects those who need it most.

For instance, it might be okay for young people who have been living alone to connect with a small group of friends.

“If there’s somebody in my family that’s going through cancer treatment, for example, I’m not going to expand my circle very much, because I need to protect them,” said Henry. “So if I’m going back to work, then I need to be careful about things like going outside and meeting with others … so that [I] don’t bring something home that might affect somebody who’s more vulnerable.”

Henry concluded that citizens will be able to expand their social circles slightly in coming weeks, but not to the size they may have been before the pandemic.

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 you can text 1-888-268-4319. For updates on UBC’s response to COVID-19, visit ubc.ca/campus-notifications/.