COVID-19 BC Update, March 30

[Music] good afternoon I'm Adrian Dix BC Minister of Health beside me is dr.

Bonnie Henry the provincial health officer for British Columbia were honored to be here on the territories of the loch lomond speaking people the song geese and Esquimalt First Nations today is our first report since Saturday I just wanted to as we do thank all of the people involved in preparing both preparing the information that we're reporting on all the people the BC CDC if the health authorities of the Ministry of Health everyone who is involved in all of this and with that I'm want to introduce dr.

Bonnie Henry thank you good afternoon so we're reporting today on the last two 24-hour periods and we'll start with through February 29th we had a very small number of new cases reported that day just 16 which brought us up to 900 and then in the last 24 hours we've had an additional 70 new cases bringing our total to 907 zero here in British Columbia so that's a total new cases in the last 48 hours of 86 of those 472 are in Vancouver Coastal Health 323 in the Fraser Health Authority 67 now on Vancouver Island 94 in the Interior and 14 in Northern Health Authority we have at the present time 13 long-term care and assisted living facility outbreaks all of which are in the fraser in Vancouver Coastal Health areas as of today we have 106 people who are hospitalized with kovat 19 and those we have 60 people who are in our critical care ICU and h au units i think it's really important to note as well that 48% of the of our cases have now fully recovered so 469 people have been released from isolation including over 70 who were in hospital or ICU over the last few weeks and I think that's really a testament to the the the importance of people being in hospital at the right time being ventilated at the right time if they need it and recovering from this and I think that's an incredibly important thing for us to remember and I my hands go up to all of the care teams in our hospitals who are looking after these these people we do have two additional deaths both in the Vancouver Coastal Health Region and I can confirm the coroner's office has confirmed our first death in the community as a result of kovat 19 due to privacy considerations however I will not be releasing the identity of this individual or any further information on this person I think we've talked a little bit last week we shared a lot of the numbers that the the modeling that we're looking at the preparedness activities we've we've put in place here in the province of British Columbia and we really are in a critical juncture right now in BC and I said this before but the next two weeks we're in our second incubation period this is the critical time for us and where we'll see if our hospitals that continuing Trickle or what we're going to see dramatic increases it's very hard to know right now but I do think as I said last week that things that we were doing are making a difference we're not through the storm yet we have not yet reached our peak we have more people every day who are in hospital and in our intensive care units so we need to continue to do all weekend across government across our health system and in our community every person needs to do their bit and I know and I'm very heartened that most people are really taking this as seriously as we need and are supporting each other are keeping their distance but keeping connected in a virtual way I want to talk again about the fact that we do have an order that prohibits gatherings of more than 50 people but 50 is not a number that is to be taken lightly 50 it was only a number there where we thought it was manageable to have social distancing to to ensure that that physical distancing is there it doesn't mean that you can have 49 people at a host party those are the situations that cause this virus to spread and it's going to spread to the people who are closest to us so I need people to understand that small groups inside are a risk small groups and large groups outside are still a risk we need to maintain those physical distances particularly in the coming weeks so that we can break those chains of transmission in our communities in our families in terms of our provincial readiness as well we've got some supplies coming in 17 or sorry 19 of our our major hospitals are now covered 19 hospitals their primary sites they're ready for this and they're working hard to make sure that we can be prepared to care for people who have this disease but also everybody else who needs our health system right now on a another positive note for many a new form of learning is beginning this week in British Columbia ensuring that not only the children of our health care workers but the most vulnerable children in our communities will continue to have the support they need from our education system so it is back to school in a virtual way for children in the province now we want and we need our children to continue to learn and to maintain those important social connections that they get through schooling even though they're apart so I encourage parents really to incorporate learning into everyday activities that you have these opportunities with your children now at home things like writing emails are texting or having virtual groups with your friends using the kitchen or the garden for science experiments and using the new online resources from our education system to help out so this is it this is our watershed these coming weeks we need to be 100% committed all of us to doing our part to flatten that curve no matter how long it takes and we need to double up our efforts right now reinforce that this is this is our week we need you to continue to do your part to do our part together why we're staying apart physically thank you thank you dr.

Hanna wanted to update you on a few other issues that are before us now and firstly of course is to understand that we now have 19 people have passed away from kovat 19 and BC to more on over the weekend and our hearts go out to everybody every family involved all their families and friends all those that took care of them in what is a really and truly difficult moment as dr.

Henry has said we have 106 people in acute care that's 44 in Vancouver Coastal Health 44 and Fraser health six in interior health eight on Vancouver Island and four in the northern Health Authority and just to put that in context because we've been reporting on this we currently have four thousand two hundred and thirty three vacant acute care beds as a result of the measures that have been taken across all acute care sites across all Hospital sites in BC I apologize because I think we were going to post this number and we didn't get to it this in for me we didn't get to it so I'm gonna read it out and we'll be posting it subsequently there are actually 19 sites so we talked to 17 on Friday 17 kovat 19 Hospital sites primary sites that were referred to in the planning documents in the modeling documents we talked about on on Friday those sites and Fraser health or abbotsford Regional Hospital Royal Columbian Hospital and Surrey Memorial Hospital in the interior there Kelowna General Hospital royal inland hospital in Kamloops Vernon Jubilee Hospital Penticton Regional Hospital Kootenai boundary Regional Hospital and trail and these could be Regional Hospital in Cranbrook in the provincial Health Services Authority of course BC Children's in Women's Hospital in Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care Lions Gate Hospital Richmond Hospital st.

Paul's Hospital in Vancouver General Hospital and on Vancouver Island Royal Jubilee Hospital in the Nano Regional General Hospital as a secondary site Victoria General Hospital which is part of of that just to say that we've designated these 19 major Hospital sites across the problem to deliver care to the most critically ill patients and to maximize capacity and this is what we spoke about when we talked about all of the models we presented and then being prepared for the most pessimistic of the models Vancouver Coastal Health is preparing and Fraser health and all the health authorities will be preparing off-site treatment centers including and this will you'll start to see this over the next few days the Vancouver trade and Convention Center and the new tower at Royal Columbian Hospital two of those the intention at Vancouver the Vancouver Convention Center at the Convention Center will be to 271 beds and at Royal Columbian 80 beds and there will be more information coming on that all the information you'll get over the next coming days and as those sites are developed will be the responsibility of Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser health and they'll be including potentially providing tours are showing giving access to that you won't see much there at this time but those are the off sites so that even though we have 4233 beds empty we're also preparing additional beds in order to fight have a place for lower acuity or less ill patients to go and to be and to provide more space for kovat 19 patients potentially in our acute care hospitals in an effort to reduce the risk of Cova 19 transmission we are suspending pay parking for the patient's staff and visitors at all Health Authority owned and operated sites effective April 1st until further notice this change makes it easier for individuals to avoid touching screens and buttons that payment kiosks that may have been touched by someone previously and also supports physical distancing measures that have been mandated by our provincial health officer obviously there are different circumstances at different sites many health care workers for example pay off their paychecks for for parking and so on and those deductions will not occur consistent with this policy change I just want to speak briefly about all of the efforts on on PPE which is a major question especially masks but other protection equipment for individuals particularly for healthcare workers as we've spoken in the last few days of the challenges in the in the global market I wanted to acknowledge those count challenges but I want to be also very clear particularly to healthcare workers that we're taking significant steps to ensure they're protected and have the appropriate PPE when they need it and where they need it our approach is focused around preparation not desperation there are two key pieces of work that I want to update you on today to provide more perspective on the work that we're doing to ensure an adequate supply a PPE and keep our health workers safe despite the challenges BC does continue to receive supply of PPE in the last few weeks we've received several orders from various suppliers including n95 masks surgical masks gowns eye protection and other PPE that are critical to keeping our healthcare workers safe the challenges that global demand is resulting in a situation where our previous suppliers aren't able to provide the bulk large quantity shipments that provide will provide us with the comfort we need to say that we no longer have to pursue other supply options so we're working hard on all of those that's not to say there hasn't success in large bulk orders just just today we received a shipped up the shipment of 1 million surgical masks finally just to say there was a question about ambulances and the extraordinary work done by ambulance paramedics in BC we actually have fewer calls now you might note that there are fewer people on roads and I presume and we'll have to assess this over time fewer car accidents and other things that lead to ambulance call so on average the average day is about 1540 calls and we've been at about 1417 calls on average in March but we are getting a lot more calls related to influence like like issues and those calls so over the last we could say to relatively conclude constants the last Sunday March 22nd or 8 days ago we received ambulance paramedics responded to 339 calls this Sunday it was 320 calls which is roughly the same amount and finally I just want to thank all the nurses and work operators at eight one one yesterday was the lowest number of of drop calls that we've had since the beginning of the issues around Kovan 19 in the month of March and the average wait time at 8:00 when one calls yesterday was one point three minutes which was a reflection of the extraordinary work they're doing and so I'm just gonna finish if I may by saying a few words in French – to conclude you're doing informing some knees as you love the the caudate did period the report the venkata do van wheat event of mouse a event of mass media shortly who could la première period or a poor disco van with mass do me van a loser van New Zealand's view says new vodka from total myth Sanka on Columbia botanic occurred the Daniel van cotton is a virologist ray was indeed new vodka from total the NASA wasn't IDs wasn't iske on Columbia botanic so that represent represent catalysis Nouveau cut that we not done in Europe or sandy chakras isn't a quality person attend the covetous enough cats on spots on the news the true Vancouver Coastal twice on Van twat a Fraser sauce on set Salil the Vancouver cattle Bank a total interior a Catorce oh no do some ethnicity the signal signal a did this a supplement le a aku vide is not the narration co-chaired the Vancouver on renown total the the Disney's they say Leo covetous enough on Columbia botanic ok captain sauce on earth who can't a wit poor son de pasión attend the comedies enough on recuperate and on pure decisions diesel ma so with that we're happy to take your questions please press star-1 to enter the queue you are limited to one question only please also under phones you will not be audible until we call your name so our first question is David Molko CTV go ahead dr.

Sean warms better Royal Columbian because in the videos the first time in his career that he's genuinely frightened he says he is not testing enough more testing would would make those who might be positive more likely to comply and self isolate ones and some home or that an unintended side effect of our testing strategy is people who are going home are then letting their guard down what do you think yeah I actually don't agree with that and having been on the front lines with my colleagues in public health who are actually talking to these people who are at home and who are self isolating at home most people are absolutely doing what we need them to do and our testing strategy as I have explained a few times has changed so that we are focused the large number of tests were still doing over 3, 000 tests a day we're focusing on those most likely to have this disease and those most likely to need health care or hospital care so that is an important strategy it's not that we're decreasing the number of tests we're doing it's that we're focusing the testing on the people who are most likely to need the health care services and we are still maintaining the there contact tracing we're talking with people who have this who have mild enough the illness that they're able to stay at home and for the most part that is that is working I think we need and I've been saying it a number of times we need to understand that this is now being transmitted in our communities across the province and that is why it is so important for all of us all of us to do our part around staying home if we're sick at all around making sure that we self isolate and that does mean not going to the grocery store not going to the drugstore not going outside our property if we have if we are sick ourselves you know I I'm I think all of us are anxious about what's going on in our and our health settings the the numbers that are really true if you will about the more severe cases are the numbers of people that were seen in our hospitals and the the rate that people are coming into the hospital and as you know much of our outbreak particularly in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland is has been focused on long-term care homes so focusing our attention on making sure we're doing everything we can in those settings is incredibly important but it's challenging for all of us to to not know what's coming in the future and particularly when we hear about shortages and we watch what's going on in the world around us you know we don't know what's going to happen in the next week to two weeks we can only continue to watch continue to prepare continue to make sure that we're doing everything we can and to ensure that the rest of our community is doing their part to next Vancouver Sun oh hi minister it's wondering could you just tell us what kind of patients are being moved out of hospital now to free up space what kind of people are going to the Vancouver Convention Center I know you say lower acuity but could you put that in kind of more understandable terms what type of people were talking about what type of illnesses and then you had mentioned the modeling Friday for a northern Italy hospitalization type of scenario where other people would be moved out of hospital so who's being moved out now and then who would conceivably be moved out in that more serious worst-case scenario it's all I'll start right now people who are moving out of the hospital are people who are waiting for placement in an alternate level of care so many people are being moved in to temporarily into long-term care homes for example people who have may have been in acute care bed for some time waiting for a replacement so instead of having their permanent placement they're being moved into spaces in long-term care that's the primary area we also are ensuring that people who've had minor surgeries or had other surgeries prior to the routine scheduled surgery stopping are being discharged home as soon as possible and making sure that they have the care that they need in the community we are not putting anybody in to the Vancouver Convention Center this week that is part of the strategy as we talked about you know if we start to see dramatic increases in numbers of people in hospital for kovat 19 and we need to cohort them so that they are all in the area where they can receive the critical care that's needed then we would look at moving people who had other illnesses so people who were recovering from their heart attacks recovering from trauma or other injuries that brought them into the hospital that they didn't need to be accessed that close to the potential for critical care we would potentially move them into an off-site facility like the the Convention Center should we reach that point so we're not expecting anybody in the in the near term to be there and just Rob just to put it in context our current occupancy is about sixty point six percent not about six not about sixty point sixty percent it's 60 point six percent in our current critical care bed occupancy is 53.

7% the main group of people we're not taking into hospital right now our elective surgeries and you thought you see the thousands of surgeries that have been cancelled so far which obviously creates significant space in addition to that alternate level of care patients have been moved out of the hospital so the purpose of these alternate sites is to prepare for all scenarios right now as we said in the briefing there are four thousand two hundred and thirty three empty hospital beds so this is creating even more capacity than that and to do that you have to prepare in advance you can't decide two days from now you need a temporary hospital and put that together so in in all of the health authorities were preparing those sites and that the tradin Convention Center I think I gave you the numbers I'm just trying to recall it was in the neighborhood of 200 additional beds and at that that's a big enough site that you can in fact set up two separate hospitals treating two different different types of people so with four thousand plus empty beds we're not moving anyone there soon well this shows our determination to be prepared for people and also to ensure that people who may have less serious illness or recovering from treatment other than kovat 19 can continue to be separated from people who are dealing with kovat 19 in hospital and that's going to be true in all the health authorities the Royal Columbian site as you know is is phase one of a major hospital renewal there so we were about to open that site for its intended purpose which is related to mental health and addiction program so we will be holding off that opening and using that site for this purpose or until it's clear we won't need it in future next question Ethan Sawyer CBC hi there yeah my question is just pertaining to dr.

Henry's comment earlier mentioning the coroner's offices confirmed our first death in the community as a result of kovat 19 just wondering if you can define a death in the community is it's just a death outside of a hospital or healthcare center that's correct so this was a person who died at in their home and it was as a result of kovat 90 next question Cindy Hartnett x colonist oh hi dr.

Henry and minister there are several businesses on Vancouver Island that are putting their creative forces together and in one instance making face shields out of 3d printers you talked about getting a million masks in are these kind of endeavors something that you support in that you could run out of these supplies yeah face shields are actually a very important part of the personal protective equipment that we use for a droplet transmitted infection like kavod 19 so you you will have seen pictures of people wearing the the face shields over with our goggles with a mask or a respirator and so yes these are there's a lot of really innovative people out there who we've been connecting with and we have a whole group at the ministry who are validating each individual donation or offer of health and there's a variety of things so 3d printing advisors is something that I know they're looking at and looking at you know what types of volumes we could do because it is a very important critical piece to protect healthcare workers friends or the goat oh hi my question is about the order of restricting health care workers to one long-term care facility you're you're probably aware most of these people work in several facilities that have economic necessity I'm wondering I couldn't on I couldn't see for sure and reading the order how are you ensuring that they aren't financially penalized by that and also just this morning we got word that of a long-term care facility that put out a call for volunteers wondering how we're making sure there's enough cross eyed staff in each facility also yeah that's a that's been occupying a good deal of of our team's time over the last couple of weeks once we recognize that how important it was and as you know we've had a number of outbreaks particularly to quite large ones in Vancouver Coastal Health at Linn Valley and at Herald so the challenge has been to try and track health care workers and as we know many of them work not only across facilities but also in acute care and and long-term care so yes we've been working with the unions with HEA BC and the bottom line is everybody will be employed by the ministry at a specific rate so that they will not be penalized and that we they will all be at a the same rate and there will be a central assigning body that works essentially under my direction under the order to ensure that each facility has sufficient staff so it is a complex thing we have many different types of contracts and employees and we need to make sure that it's done in a way that doesn't disadvantage anybody and that it doesn't allow people to pick the the place that pays a higher wage for example so this is an extraordinary time and this is a very important measure so for that time being everybody will be at the same wage and will be offered full-time employment so that we can make sure we have the adequate staffing for every facility as you can tell from saying that this means a lot of different contracts and negotiations and things that have been worked on and I just can't thank enough our unions and the hea bc and our team at the ministry who have been working day and night on this to make sure that we do the best that we can do for our healthcare workers who work in these facilities and to be able to best protect our our seniors and elders in the facilities and so it is something that will be rolled out over time focusing of course on the where the need is most which is the Lower Mainland and that's started already they request for assistance is around and I know the the number of I think it's up to 11 now that we have facilities where we have outbreaks that's a very challenging time because we make sure that we put restrictions on what staff can do on what visitors can on what residents can do and it is an exhausting thing to be managing a note break and to be working in those facilities so I know there has been requests for assistance from others to come in and supplement the staffing in some of those facilities and and I'm also very grateful for the the number of nurses and care aides and others health care workers in those facilities for stepping up and helping out during this period next question comes from Tom zatarc serene a leader go ahead well good afternoon and we have a rather large seniors complex here in Surrey called Elim village and the Fraser Health Authority learned on Thursday night that a healthcare worker working in long-term care there as the closes virus have any more infections have been discovered there at the Eamon you know I don't believe so the latest I had on that was that we still remained at the individuals that we were that one individual that was a staff person there and Mendota bout this very early and as I said he's very aggressive they have now SWAT teams that go in to a facility to make sure we have the infection control pieces we need the personal protective equipment that everything is done as rapidly as possible and it's been it's been very effective I mean we're not out of the woods by any means but as far as I know that is stabilized and we're waiting the challenge with this virus of course is that the incubation period it can be up to 14 days and we know that there are some people who have been exposed in that facility and it's a matter of keeping them isolated monitoring them and waiting to see what's going to happen over the next few days so we're not out of the woods there yet but I know they have put in a lot of the important measures to try and if people develop the illness that it won't be spread to the next generation next is Richards US Mint global news dr.

Henry I'm just wondering what your thoughts are on the FDA's emergency used authorization of Hydra clock hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of kovat 19 do you think Health Canada should follow suit and what have been the early indication of the clinical trials so far here yes so hydroxychloroquine is a drug that is approved for use in Canada for malaria it's also used as a drug to help treat lupus and some types of arthritis rheumatoid arthritis so there's no need for a new for Health Canada to do anything it is a medication that is available in Canada and the jury is still out on whether it has benefit or not and so we are watching very carefully I think I mentioned on Saturday that it has been used in some limited protocols in in our long-term care facility outbreaks but we don't know yet we don't have enough data and time yet to know whether it's been effective both as a preventive medicine so if we give it to somebody who's been exposed does that really decrease their risk of developing the disease or does that work to treat the disease and there is a big mention that as well it's called solidarity there's a large studies being done around the world and we're part of it here in BC with a number of our our colleagues from UBC and BC CDC who have these protocols and we unfortunately don't know the answer to that question yet hi following up on the earlier question about long-term care homes as you mentioned these facilities often rely on a complicated network of contracts and subcontracts for care and feeding AIDS and they often work at multiple facilities will there be a review of contracting in some contracts and long term care homes when this is over right now all of those contracts we we've essentially said for the purpose of this pandemic we're going to hire everybody as many as we can fold by the province to be assigned through a central body so that is for the next six months whether there'll be a review at the end of that I I personally hope so it will certainly won't be the only issue reviewed but it'll be one of the issues reviewed yes Canadian Press I had dr.

Henry you commented earlier about the doctor from Royal Columbian I'm wondering if you have any comments to make on the former medical health officer from the North who in an open letter says northern communities need more information about Kovac patients there and also he's calling he says you should shut down the work camps up there yes I know dr.

Bower in quite well and I I think it's unfortunate that you know he is not as what connected with the northern health medical health officers as he was in the past but the northern health has been doing an amazing job and the medical health officers are aware of every case in northern health and like the rest of the province every case is investigated all the contacts are notified and they're following the same procedures as we are everywhere else so people in those communities who are at rest at risk know who they are and they have been isolated they have been quarantined people have been treated in hospital there and the clinical teams in northern health are doing an amazing job supporting people as well I think that the important thing as we have everywhere is that every community needs to realize that we are not immune there is no community that is immune to this virus we travel a lot whether we realize it or not we come back and forth with essential services that we need in many communities across the north across the territories and across the province so we know that there's been people who've traveled who've been to many of the northern communities we also know that many of our indigenous communities are putting in place measures to try and protect their elders and and to make sure that they have plans in place to be able to respond should we have any introductions into those those communities so right now the measures that we need to do in the Lower Mainland we need to do in terrorists in Lake Mubeen are all the same we need to physically distance from each other and we need to make sure that if we're sick at all that we're staying away in terms of the industrial camps I mean that is something that we've been working with northern health in particular but across the board in the north many if not all of them have gone to a very reduced staff for various reasons we don't want as many people coming in and out of the community they have done things like extending the length of time that people are they're going to safety staff only I think it's important to recognize you can't just abandon a large mine or industrial site that's not safe it's not safe for the community or for the environment as well so northern Health has been very active working with the industrial camps in the north to reduce the risks in those camps and to make sure that that they're scaling back appropriately to be able to put in place the measures that we have required and under a Pho order in those facilities to reduce the risk to the people there and also to the communities around those camps next question comes from Eric John Fairchild yes dr.

Henry you talked about the first case of Kobe 19 related death in a community so are you guys following up or tracking those peoples who is close contact with the man died in his residence absolutely the the close contacts are in isolation and many of them of course are family members but the investigation was quite detailed and anybody who had contact with the individual was notified next question comes from Keith poultry Global News I know the hospitalization numbers are up significantly you expressed some concern about that earlier briefing you gave us sort of an idea of who's in hospital right now is it still primarily older people or we seen a shift towards any other demographic in India it is still mostly older people people in over 65 although we do have a blip of of younger people who are ill with this many of them health care workers as we know so but most people in hospital and certainly all of our deaths continue to be in older people we've had very few we've only had a small number less than 5% of our our cases are in people under the age of 19 and there was only one short hospitalization in a child that that is no longer in hospital at the moment okay next question comes from Ashley legassik from CF JC Ashley okay hello oh hi go ahead hi sorry I was speaking I wasn't here hi dr.

Henry we have heard from the Interior Health Authority about a seniors living community in cantaloupe Riverbend Manor where there may have been an exposure to COBIT 19 do you know of any confirmed cases at that property you know I I don't I'm not I don't know the details about that property no we report outbreaks when they're in a facility so that's our we have a protocol for that that we've had for many years so if it's a long-term care home or acute care hospital or one of the facilities that we run so I may not be aware of the details if it's in a community setting save time for one more question but before we get to that for any reporters that didn't get to ask a question today there will be a statement released later this afternoon with all the information covered in today's media veil for recommendations on protecting families and communities from kovin 19 visit the BCC DCC a website for non-medical questions about the provinces Kovan 19 response please visit gov DCC a /ko vat19 our last question comes from Pierre Chauvin CBC Radio Canada hi there question in French I'm wondering if dr.

enemy could speak of the fact of all the people who live in Victoria and on the island in in vans and who rely on public places to live and how those people we deal with infection or general remember regular satlak NASPA a full cocoon wound until a bit in case what sweet liquor Sade dr.

Henry Sasi a say perceived on the couch on some vulnerable residences what can use a new noodle Satan new news a FAFSA the job really this city and position that doctrines seeker a conduct antidote a complete on Montague recorded cetera if otra vez Osaka it consider a shock important is the seconf II just want to say in conclusion that what dr.

Henry said at the beginning is what really applies for me and I think for everyone else which is that we have to be into this now a hundred percent the next two weeks are absolutely critical for us and daily reports are important for us and they'll be continuing coming to provide information but I have been so impressed this weekend to see how many people have been listening to what dr.

Henry has been saying but this next two weeks is a critical two weeks we have to be a hundred percent all in every one of us has to be committed to it and we can see the good news is that we can see when that happens that not just the healthcare system is breaking the links of transmission but all of you are so I wanted to express our thanks to everyone out there who is doing their part in this and ask anyone who may not be to that well we need you we need a hundred percent of all of you to do what we need to do in the next two weeks merci beaucoup at apportion thank you we'll see you next time.

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