Taking temperature: April 6 COVID-19 update

In today’s provincial briefing, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that there are reasons to be optimistic about the effectiveness of the measures that have been employed, but it is important not to let up.

There are 63 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 new death from the virus in BC since Saturday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 1,266. Of those cases, 586 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority region.

There are currently 140 people with the virus who are hospitalized and 72 of those people are in critical care.

In today’s provincial briefing, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that there are reasons to be optimistic about the effectiveness of the measures that have been employed, but it is important not to let up.

The average daily percentage increase in cases in BC has been decreasing over the past few days and the number of hospitalizations are down slightly from Saturday, but Henry emphasized that any new cluster outbreaks that might arise could quickly get out of control.

Henry also announced another prison outbreak at a federal correctional centre in Mission where two inmates have tested positive for the virus.

Amidst country-wide concerns over adequate supplies of personal protective equipment and the looming potential of critical equipment shortages in Ontario, Minister of Health Adrian Dix announced that the province has received a large shipment of both surgical and N95 masks. The new masks are currently being tested to ensure they meet quality standards.

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Henry echoed today’s announcement from Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam that wearing non-medical masks in public can help protect others, but emphasized that public health authorities are not requiring or recommending their use for everyone.

“Medical masks and respirators need to be reserved for our healthcare settings and our healthcare workers because that’s where they do the most good,” said Henry. “But a handmade cloth face covering that we’ve seen people using in other places — for short term — they can protect others around you from your droplets.”

Especially as the numbers show that the epidemic curve may be beginning to bend in BC, Henry again stressed that everyone in the province must continue doing their utmost to follow public health orders to keep the rise in cases controlled.

“We need to redouble our efforts, we need to keep this up, we need to continue to work to stay home and to do our part,” she said.

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/