B.C. recorded 71 new COVID-19 cases and three new deaths on Wednesday (April 22), marking the biggest daily surge in cases since March.
That brings the total number of cases to 1,795 in B.C. since the novel coronavirus was identified in January, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced during a news conference in the basement of the B.C. Legislature.
Of these cases, 103 people are currently being hospitalized, with 46 of those in intensive care. Henry announced that 1,079 people have fully recovered, bringing the total number of active confirmed cases to 716.
The three fatalities were all elderly people living in long-term facilities, bringing the total number of virus-related deaths in the province to 90.
Henry included a stern message in her update, urging everyone to continue following physical distancing while warning that current protocols and restrictions will not be lifted until the province sees a decrease in both new cases and number of outbreaks.
“We have more work to do in breaking the transmissions within our communities,” Henry said. “We can’t afford to have any weaknesses in our firewall if we are going to move ahead in our new normal.”
British Columbians have been waiting in hope that some measures will be eased or even lifted in the coming summer months – a possibility Henry and other health officials have said while motioning that at least some of the protocols will continue indefinitely, until there is a vaccine.
Allergy season has officially overlapped the time of the year when respiratory illnesses, including strains of coronvirus, are most prominent in B.C.
But Henry advised that people must continue to follow each measure currently in place, including to wash your hands frequently – and most importantly to stay home if you feel sick.
“We know that people experience milder symptoms from this virus, and some may think it is just the sniffles or perhaps even just allergies this time of year. It makes it really hard to tell if you have COVID-19, but you still can transmit it to others, even with very mild symptoms,” Henry said.
“Let me be 100 per cent clear: Now, if you are ill – whether it’s a cold or you feel it is allergies or whether you are concerned you might have COVID-19 – stay home, stay away from others and immediately contact us and we can help you get tested if that is appropriate.”