Taking temperature: April 9 COVID-19 update

The focus of today’s provincial briefing was new measures aimed at curbing the transmission of COVID-19 in long-term care homes, which has been a significant driver of BC’s pandemic.

There are 34 new cases of COVID-19 and 2 new deaths from the virus in BC today, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 1,370. Of those cases, 626 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority region.

There are 132 people with the virus in BC who are hospitalized today and of those people, 68 are in critical care.

The focus of today’s provincial briefing was new measures aimed at curbing the transmission of COVID-19 in long-term care homes, which has been a significant driver of BC’s pandemic. Residents in long-term care also make up a disproportionate number of deaths from the virus in the province.

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Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province is using its powers under the Public Health Act and its state of emergency to implement a transition framework to support health care workers through the process of being assigned to only one care site.

Henry issued an order in late March prohibiting health care providers from working at more than one facility, but its implementation has been slow due in part to the complexity of the long-term care system.

Minister of Health Adrian Dix elaborated on Henry’s announcement, saying that the framework is designed to help ensure that care providers have stable scheduling and pay through the transition. The province will be setting aside around $10 million to that end, he said.

Also today, it emerged that the federal government is consulting with provinces about the potential of using the Emergencies Act to help address shortages of important medical and protective equipment.

With the holiday weekend fast approaching, Henry encouraged people to find ways to use the time to rest and enjoy the good weather while still practicing physical distancing.

“Let’s make this a weekend to unwind, but to be kind,” she said. “It’s also okay to go for a bike ride or go for a walk in the sun, but keep your distance.”

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/