COVID cases in Lynn Valley care home continue to climb

FILE- Dr. Henry said Tuesday the recorded number of coronavirus cases in B.C. is now 617

There have now been 617 positive tests across B.C.: 330 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 194 in Fraser Health, 44 in Island Health, 41 in Interior Health and eight in Northern Health.

"If you can pay your rent, you should pay your rent - this fund is there to help those people who are in genuine distress", Mr. Horgan said.

Henry said that another person who had contracted the virus at a care home in North Vancouver has died.

"This is something that's required to protect people", she said.

The province will also be working with the federal government to align its enforcement of the mandatory quarantine, if needed, said Henry, although it was already an order for British Columbians to self-isolate after returning from travel.

Henry also pointed to the fact that BC has taken measures to contain the spread of the virus at a different point in time in the virus's trajectory than Italy, as well as the fact the province's testing strategy has been informed by the experience of other countries. "Each and everyone of us needs to make that commitment to stay away from people who are vulnerable".

"We must make the efforts now".

There will be hard times ahead for British Columbians, said Dix, and people need to follow the health guidelines put in place to help flatten the curve of coronavirus cases.

As of March 26, Dix says that the province has 3,903 total beds vacant in the acute care system, with 371 vacant critical care beds.

Dix said there is now a huge worldwide demand for personal protective equipement (PPE), some of which is due to supply chain disruptions from the coronavirus.

"Our primary focus is to protect healthcare workers", he said. "It's our determination to continue to do so".

Existing eviction orders with B.C.'s Residential Tenancy Branch have also been halted. At Haro Park, two residents and one additional staff member have tested positive.

He described the decision to cancel non-urgent elective surgeries as one of the most hard choices B.C. has had to make.

Henry said the outbreaks at the care homes highlights the vulnerability of elderly residents in long-term care facilities.

Housing Minister Selina Robinson said those measures would help renters and landowners maintain physical distancing.

Why it matters: The announcement Wednesday follows the province's $5 billion COVID-19 action plan, which committed to provide support to renters during an unprecedented and economically challenging time.

On Friday, health officials will be presenting modelled scenarios, or projections, of the progression of COVID-19 in B.C., said Dix.

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