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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world March 30 – CBC.ca

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The latest:

Canadian businesses and non-profit organizations that see a drop of at least 30 per cent in revenue due to COVID-19 will qualify for the government’s 75 per cent wage subsidy program, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday.

The number of employees will not be a factor in eligibility for the subsidy, Trudeau said at his daily media briefing outside his Rideau Cottage residence. 

That reassurance came after Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, urged Canadians over the weekend to “stay strong” and not let up on measures like physical distancing and proper hand hygiene, saying it will be a critical week in the fight against COVID-19’s spread.

In eastern Ontario, meanwhile, nine residents of a long-term care facility have died of COVID-19 complications since early last week, and the facility’s medical director said Monday they are all believed to be linked to the virus.

CBC Toronto previously reported that nearly three dozen staff members at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., have experienced COVID-19 symptoms.

The Pinecrest nursing home is seen in Bobcaygeon, Ont., on Monday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Across Canada, a domestic travel ban for those showing symptoms went into effect at noon ET Monday.

Abroad, the federal government says it has arranged for Canadians to fly home from several countries, including Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti. It has also arranged flights for Canadians in Sudan, Ghana and Cameroon, who will travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday to catch an overnight flight to Toronto.

Global Affairs Canada says more Canadians will come home from Spain, Ecuador, Algeria, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Hungary and Senegal in the coming days.

On Monday evening, Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal tweeted that Canada has also arranged flights for Canadians in India and Pakistan.

At sea, a cruise ship carrying nearly 250 Canadians is on the move after being stranded off the coast of Panama.

The MS Zaandam has passed through the Panama Canal after being anchored on its west side with four dead and nearly 200 passengers and crew showing flu-like symptoms. Holland America says several people onboard have tested positive for the coronavirus. It has been joined, and is being assisted, by its sister ship the Rotterdam.

Meanwhile, Air Canada will temporarily lay off more than 15,000 unionized workers beginning this week. The company says the two-month furloughs will affect about one-third of management and administrative and support staff, including head office employees, in addition to the front-line workers.

‘In the eye of a storm’

COVID-19 is the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, which first emerged in China in late 2019. For most people, it causes mild or moderate symptoms. Health officials have said older people and those with underlying health issues are most at risk of severe disease and death, but they caution that younger people can also develop serious illness.

The pandemic has countries scrambling to contain the spread of the virus and quickly scale up health systems struggling with a shortage of protective gear. Governments are also trying to tackle the economic fallout that has accompanied the pandemic as many businesses cut jobs, scale back operations or close.

As countries adopt measures such as physical distancing, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged governments to ensure that the needs of vulnerable people were met — including food, sanitation and other essential services.  

“In implementing these measures, it’s vital to respect the dignity and welfare of all people,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director general, during Monday’s daily coronavirus news briefing. 

WATCH l WHO chief says ‘humility and kindness’ vital in fight against COVID-19:

While stressing the importance of scientific and public health tools, WHO also called for humility and kindness in the fight against the coronavirus. 2:00

Tedros said he was encouraged by the efforts of G20 countries to work together “to improve the production and equitable supply of essential products.” 

“In the eye of a storm like COVID, scientific and public health tools are essential, but so are humility and kindness.

“With solidarity, humility and assuming the best of each other, we can — and we will — overcome this together,” Tedros said. 

Read on for a look at what’s happening in Canada, the U.S. and some other hard-hit areas.

Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories

Canada’s provinces and territories reported more than 7,400 confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases — of which more than 1,100 cases have been listed as recovered or resolved — though public health officials have cautioned that those numbers don’t capture the full picture. That’s because there are people who haven’t been tested, people who are still being investigated as possible cases, and people who are awaiting test results.  

There have been 92 COVID-19 deaths reported in Canada, plus another two COVID-19-related deaths of Canadians abroad — one in Japan and one in Brazil.

WATCH l Numbers will rise, but extent of increase unclear:

Officials are watching to see if physical distancing has had any effect on the pace of infections, says Dr. Michael Gardam, chief of staff at Humber River Hospital in Toronto. 5:55

For a more detailed look at what’s happening in Canada, including detail on the limitations of relying on recorded cases, visit CBC’s interactive case tracker.

In Ontario, the government on Monday evening extended the state of emergency by two weeks, maintaining the closure of non-essential workplaces and restrictions on social gatherings. It also added an order to close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as sports fields and playgrounds, effective immediately.  

CBC Toronto obtained copies of COVID-19 reports issued daily by Critical Care Services Ontario, a branch of the province’s Ministry of Health. The latest report, from Saturday, shows 92 patients in critical-care wards have tested positive for COVID-19, while another 342 ICU patients are considered “suspected” cases.  This means confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases now account for roughly one out of every four patients currently in Ontario’s intensive care units — the first crucial medical resource to be overwhelmed by the spread of the virus in Italy, Spain and New York City. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.

Health-care workers see a patient in their vehicle at a COVID-19 drive-thru assessment centre at a hospital in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Quebec is reporting another spike in cases — there were 590 new positive cases announced on Monday, bringing the provincial total to 3,430. The province said Monday three more people have died from the virus, bringing that total to 25.

Premier François Legault says the brightest stat of the day was that 78 people were in intensive care, an increase of just six cases. Legault says that, to give retail employees a break, stores will be closing on Sundays in April, with only pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and takeout restaurants remaining open. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec, including stepped-up enforcement of public health orders in Montreal.

People practise physical distancing while waiting in line outside a store in Montreal on Monday. (Charles Contant/Radio-Canada)

Newfoundland and Labrador recorded its first death due to the novel coronavirus. The patient — a retired man in the Eastern Health region — died Sunday, about three days after being hospitalized. Read more about what’s happening in the province.

Following two years of catastrophic flooding, COVID-19 border closures and physical distancing rules are the latest threats to New Brunswick farmers. Questions over how foreign workers will enter Canada and how long they will have to self-isolate are especially worrying, while the president of the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick is asking for the entire food-supply chain to be declared an essential service in order to protect the industry. Read more about what’s happening in N.B. 

WATCH | Canadian woman describes what it’s like to have COVID-19:

Montreal’s Melanie Fournier has COVID-19 and says anyone who thinks the virus is overblown should take it very seriously: ‘This is not what you think it is.’ 10:01

Prince Edward Island’s businesses and health resources are being forced to adapt as COVID-19 changes islanders’ needs and buying habits. Internet providers are reporting an uptick in demand, mental health and addictions support have moved online and rural grocery stores are experiencing significantly higher volumes as people attempt to shop local. Read more about what’s happening in P.E.I.

British Columbia’s health officer says the province is at a critical period in the pandemic. “We are not through the storm yet,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

Henry says the next two weeks mark a second incubation period for the disease as is urging people to follow public health advice because the number of cases hasn’t peaked yet. She says there are also 13 long-term care homes or assisted-living facilities with outbreaks, all in the Vancouver and Fraser Valley areas. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.

A sign promoting physical distancing is seen outside the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., on Monday. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

In Alberta, some people applying for a provincial one-time funding program meant to tide them over until federal supports are in place are having problems with the process. “It’s absolutely frustrating and I really do need it,” said one self-employed worker who is trying to access the Emergency Isolation Support program. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta, which recorded its third COVID-19-related death over the weekend.

Saskatchewan has also recorded its first deaths related to COVID-19. The Ministry of Health announced two patients in their 70s died from complications related to the virus. It says they died in hospital in different parts of the province, and one was travel-related. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.

A sign urging people to practise physical distancing is seen at Wascana Park in Regina on Monday. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

Nova Scotia confirmed its first case of community transmission on Monday. The province reported five new cases, bringing its total to 127 infections. It comes after Premier Stephen McNeil said over the weekend that the province will “escalate” their response to people breaking self-isolation rules. McNeil directed law enforcement to shift from education to enforcement, while Halifax Regional Police issued their first ticket under the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Act on the same day. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.

In Canada’s North, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health says there is one new case of COVID-19 connected to a cluster investigation on Saturday; the N.W.T government says it will administer a $2.6-million grant to help families buy the proper gear and supplies needed to head out to fishing and hunting camps as an alternative to physical distancing; and Nunavut announced a $5,000 relief grant for small businesses. Read more about what’s happening in the North.

Manitoba is shutting down all non-critical services as of April 1. The province’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, made the announcement on Monday, closing any place that serves food for dine-in service, as well as bars, hair salons and massage therapy offices. Grocery stores will still remain open. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.

WATCH | Winnipeg ER doctor comes out of retirement to fight COVID-19:

Winnipeg ER doctor comes out of retirement to help in the fight against the coronavirus. 2:52

Here’s what’s happening in the United States

From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

With more than 140,000 people infected, the United States has the most recorded cases of the coronavirus of any country in the world, followed by Italy and Spain. 

New York state has been especially hard hit and Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an urgent appeal for medical volunteers Monday as the number of deaths in the state climbed past 1,200.

New York City hospitals have been overrun with patients. To ease the pressure, construction of a 68-bed field hospital began on Sunday in the city’s iconic Central Park. The white tents evoked a wartime feel in an island of green typically used by New Yorkers to exercise, picnic and enjoy the first signs of spring.

WATCH | New York’s Central Park becomes COVID-19 field hospital:

Sixty-eight bed tent city built to accommodate hospital ICU overflows. 1:02

The makeshift facility, provided by Mount Sinai Health System and non-profit organization Samaritan’s Purse, is expected to be ready to accept patients on Tuesday but will not take walk-ins, and admissions and transfers will be managed by Mount Sinai, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The mayor, who is among a growing chorus of officials voicing frustration at U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration’s handling of the crisis, said the death toll in his city would rise soon if Washington did not provide more medical supplies and assistance.

Trump, who just last week said he hoped the country would be “opened up and just raring to go” by Easter, changed course on Sunday and announced that the physical distancing guidelines would be in place until at least April 30.

Beds set up in preparation for a potential COVID-19 surge are seen at Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pa., on Monday. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, said the decision to extend the federal guidelines — which advise against social gatherings and urge people at higher risk of developing severe illness to stay home — was a “wise and prudent” move, given the projections for case numbers if mitigation efforts aren’t strong enough. 

Among those dying from coronavirus complications in the U.S. were musicians Joe Diffie, a country star in the 1990s, and Alan Merrill, who co-wrote the smash Joan Jett made famous, I Love Rock ‘N Roll.

Acclaimed singer-songwriter John Prine was said to now be in stable condition on Monday, after his family had previously announced he was critically ill with symptoms.

Here’s what’s happening in Europe

From Reuters and The Associated Press, updated at 5 p.m. ET

Italy reported its total number of coronavirus cases has surpassed 100,000, reaching 101,739 on Monday. The country has also registered more COVID-19-related deaths than anywhere else in the world, with 11,591 people killed, accounting for about one-third of the global death toll.

Spain’s total number of coronavirus cases rose to 85,195 on Monday, as the infections surpassed those reported in China, at 81,470, according to the latest data. Some 12,298 Spanish health workers have tested positive, deputy health emergency chief Maria Jose Sierra said. The death toll from the virus in Spain rose to 7,340 on Monday from 6,528 on Sunday, the health ministry said.

Spain and Italy account for more than half of the known 34,800 deaths worldwide from the disease.

Soldiers mount a tent to be used by hospital patients during the coronavirus outbreak in Madrid on Monday. (Bernat Armangue/The Associated Press)

On Monday, the WHO’s emergencies director expressed “fervent hope” that coronavirus cases in those countries are “potentially stabilizing” due to restrictions and lockdowns over the past two weeks, but emphasized it’s no time to let up on tough measures to limit and track the spread of the virus.

“We have to now push the virus down, and that will not happen by itself,” Dr. Mike Ryan told reporters.

Ryan said case-counting in an epidemic reflects the reality of transmission for at least the previous two weeks.

“The cases you see today are almost like a historical, in the same way when we’re told that we’re looking at galaxies through a telescope, that we’re seeing light from a billion years ago,” he said.

People line outside of a shop in Barcelona on Monday. (Emilio Morenatti/The Associated Press)

Hungary’s parliament on Monday approved a bill giving Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government extraordinary powers during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill was approved by Orban’s Fidesz party and other government supporters, but is being criticized by opposition parties, international institutions and civic groups for failing to include an expiration date for the government’s ability to rule by decree.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is warning in a letter to 30 million households that things will get worse before they get better, as he self-isolates in Downing Street to recover from the coronavirus. Johnson’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, is the latest senior government figure to show symptoms of the coronavirus, which are described as mild. Britain has reported 17,089 confirmed cases of the disease and 1,019 deaths and the peak of the epidemic in the country is expected to come in a few weeks. 

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Prince Charles, 71, says the Prince of Wales is in good health and out of self-isolation after consulting with his doctor.

Graffiti calling for people to wash their hands to combat the spread of the coronavirus is seen in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Monday. (Peter Morrison/The Associated Press)

In France, army helicopters transported COVID-19 patients fighting for their lives from the eastern part of the country to hospitals in Germany and Switzerland as French authorities battle to free up space in life-support units. The Grand Est region was the first in France to be overwhelmed by a wave of infections that has rapidly moved west to engulf the greater Paris region, where hospitals are desperately adding intensive care beds to cope with the influx.

The number of confirmed cases in Germany has risen to 57,298 and 455 people have died of the disease. Cases rose by 4,751, compared with the previous day, while the death toll climbed by 66.

Here’s what’s happening in the rest of the world

From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 7:45 p.m. ET

China is now easing the last of the controls that confined tens of millions of people to their homes while they sought to contain the spread of the virus. At the peak of China’s restrictions, some 700 million people were in areas covered by orders or official requests to stay home and limit activity.

The focus of China’s prevention measures has shifted to overseas arrivals, with virtually all foreigners barred from entering the country starting Saturday.

Shopkeepers in Wuhan — the city where the outbreak began — were reopening Monday, but customers were scarce.

In order to enter places like malls and subways, people need to show they are healthy by scanning a special health certificate obtained via a QR code.

Workers wearing protective suits check health QR codes at the entrance of a re-opened shopping mall in Wuhan on Monday. (Fei Maohua/Xinhua via The Associated Press)

In Brazil, Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta is urging Brazilians to maintain maximum physical distancing to help ease the strain of COVID-19 on the health system, directly opposing President Jair Bolsonaro’s downplaying of the pandemic. 

Bolsonaro has defied calls from health officials trying to prevent gatherings that might spread the coronavirus, downplayed the risks — calling it a “little flu” that largely threatens the elderly and most vulnerable — and insisted Brazil’s economy must keep running. 

On Monday, he said that no more quarantine measures can be imposed than those already in place because jobs are being destroyed and the poor are suffering. Bolsonaro repeated his view that there is a large degree of “hysteria” around the pandemic, and said Economy Minister Paulo Guedes told him measures taken to combat the crisis could cost 800 billion reais ($218 billion Cdn) and that the economy could recover within a year.

In contrast, Mandetta said that as long as he is in his post, he will take a scientific and technical approach to his work.

WATCH | Brazil NGO delivering food in Rio’s favelas:

Brazilian NGO beseeches the government to increase provisions to the poor during the COVID-19 outbreak. 1:43

In India, a lockdown covering the country’s 1.3 billion people has put untold numbers out of work and left many families struggling to feed themselves. Tens of thousands in New Delhi were forced to flee their homes, with no way to pay the rent, journeying back to their native villages. Women in saris held babies on their hips. Others toted their belongings in bags normally used for cement. Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologized for the hardships but said, “These tough measures were needed to win this battle.”

Iranian state-run media say prisoners in southern Iran broke cameras and caused other damage during a riot. It’s the latest in a series of violent prison disturbances in the country, which is battling the most severe coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East.

Iran had temporarily released around 100,000 prisoners as part of measures taken to contain the pandemic, leaving an estimated 50,000 people behind bars, including violent offenders and so-called “security cases,” often dual nationals and others with Western ties. Iran has reported more than 38,000 infections and 2,640 deaths from COVID-19.

People wearing protective clothing carry the body of a victim who died from COVID-19 at a cemetery just outside Tehran on Monday. (Ebrahim Noroozi/The Associated Press)

Mark Lowcock, the UN’s humanitarian chief, is warning that the 10 cases and one death confirmed in Syria are just “the tip of the iceberg.”

He said “all efforts to prevent, detect and respond to COVID-19 are impeded by Syria’s fragile health system,” noting only around half of the country’s hospitals and primary health-care facilities were fully functional at the end of 2019.

Those efforts are further impeded by high levels of population movement, challenges to obtaining critical supplies including protective equipment and ventilators, and difficulties of isolating in crowded camps for the displaced with “low levels of sanitation services,” he said.

In Israel, the prime minister’s office said Benjamin Netanyahu will go into quarantine after his adviser for parliamentary affairs, Rivka Paluch, tested positive. More than 4,300 Israelis have been infected with the virus and 15 have died.

A worker disinfects the doors of the closed Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday. (Mahmoud Illean/Associated Press)

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Monday he planned stricter rules on mobility and physical distancing as a study presented to the government warned of a risk of more than 140,000 coronavirus deaths by May without tougher action.

Medical experts have said the world’s fourth-most populous country must impose tighter movement restrictions as known cases of the highly infectious respiratory illness have gone from zero in early March to 1,414, with 122 deaths, nearly half of the 250 deaths reported from across Southeast Asia.

Finally, Olympic organizers wasted no time in announcing a new date for the 2020 Tokyo Games, which were postponed last week after countries like Canada said they would not participate due to the coronavirus risk. The targeted date is now July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021.

WATCH | IOC decides on new Olympic dates for next summer:

The International Olympic Committee announced Tokyo 2020 will be held in the summer of 2021, from July 23 to August 8. 2:48

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Canadians living in China watch developments in Meng case closely – CTV News

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Canadian teacher Christopher Maclure remembers the first time he felt afraid living in China.

Almost all the newspapers there carried stories about how angry Chinese officials were when Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained by Canadian authorities in Vancouver at the behest of the United States.

But it wasn’t until a few days later when the two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, were arrested by China that Maclure felt fear.

“That’s when I got really scared,” he said in a phone interview from China where he has lived for more than two decades. “It was the top news story in China.”

Meng has been held in Canada since December 2018. She’s out on bail while fighting extradition to the United States on fraud charges. Last week, her lawyers’ first round of arguments was thrown out by a B.C. judge, meaning the case continues.

Nine days after Meng’s arrest, Chinese authorities sent Kovrig, an ex-diplomat working for the International Crisis Group, and Spavor, an entrepreneur who did business in North Korea, to prison. They are accused of violating China’s national security interests, but Canadian argues the men have been “arbitrarily detained.”

Maclure said his family was quite worried while these events played out and their fears were renewed when the B.C. court ruled against Meng last week.

But Maclure said he has felt safer in China than in any country in the West, he said.

“Everything is on camera here. It provides me with a sense of security,” he said. “And I speak Chinese quite well.”

Maclure said he censors what he says on WeChat, a Chinese social media site.

“Being a teacher … I’m sometimes a little paranoid that I’d be a person to detain,” he said. “We have a saying in China that when it’s all the same the tallest tree gets the most wind. It means the more you express your opinion, the more critical you are, the more likely you are to get cut down.”

Myriam Larouche, a Quebec woman who is a graduate student in China, said she’s not worried about being affected by the Meng case. Larouche is in Canada now, but she plans to return to China once flights resume and school starts.

Larouche said she had “some concerns” when she heard the two Canadians were arrested, but “I asked some friends and they said ‘No, no you don’t have to be worried.’ “

Global Affairs Canada said there are currently 12,885 Canadian citizens in China who have voluntarily registered with the department.

Ottawa is “aware” of 118 Canadians currently in custody in greater China with the most common charges being drug-related and fraud.

A court in southern China handed down a death penalty to a Canadian in April of last year on drug charges. In a separate drug smuggling case, China sentenced Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg to death in a sudden retrial in January — one month after Kovrig and Spavor were detained.

Wayne Duplessis had been living in China for more than two decades prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and said he hopes to go back.

He remembers reading about the arrests of Meng, Kovrig and Spavor.

“A friend contacted me a couple of days after (Kovrig and Spavor were arrested) and said, ‘are you concerned?’ I guess there was a brief moment when I thought ‘should I be concerned?’ “

But that passed, Duplessis said.

He said he and his family have been treated well in China and people there have a lot of respect for Canada.

“By and large I never feel uncomfortable about this. It seems very much unrelated to us.”

Duplessis said he feels badly for Spavor and Kovrig.

“I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in custody for more than 500 days — even one day. Terrifying,” he said

Canadians living in China can stay in touch with the embassy and cultivate “good working relationships locally,” he said.

“I hope this is a blip and I hope that things get cleared.”

But people can’t be ruled by their fears, he added.

“We have to move forward or we just don’t get anywhere. So, you try to be as cautious as you can, you try to understand the risks — there’s no sense in being foolish about it — but we do have to move forward.

“We do have to build our lives.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 4, 2020.

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Strains from Europe and Eastern Canada account for most COVID-19 cases in B.C., genomic data shows – CBC.ca

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Strains traced to Europe and Eastern Canada are by far the largest source of COVID-19 infections in B.C., according to new modelling presented by the provincial government Thursday.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry revealed the results of genomic tracing of different strains of the virus, showing that of those samples that have been sequenced, early cases linked to travel from China and Iran appear to have been well contained, leading to relatively few other infections.

But beginning in March, with an outbreak that began with the Pacific Dental Conference in Vancouver, infections with strains from Eastern Canada and Europe spiked dramatically.

“One of the people that we knew was positive and had attended that conference had previously been in Germany during his incubation period before he became ill,” Henry said.

Strains traced to Washington state have also been linked to a large number of cases, particularly in long-term care homes in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

Henry explained that this kind of tracing is possible because the genome of the virus changes relatively quickly, but not as fast as diseases like influenza.

Genomic tracing of different strains of the novel coronavirus show most infections are linked to variations that have been traced to Europe and Eastern Canada. (B.C. government)

She also announced nine new confirmed cases of the virus on Thursday, for a total of 2,632 to date. No new deaths have been recorded, leaving B.C.’s total at 166.

The new cases announced Thursday include four people who have already recovered, people that Henry described as epidemiologically linked to previous patients who have tested positive.

This means these four people were close contacts of known cases and developed symptoms of COVID-19, but may not have had access to testing at the time.

There are currently 26 people in hospital, including six in intensive care. To date, 2,265 people have recovered from their illnesses, and there are now 201 active cases across the province.

Meanwhile, there has been a new community outbreak at the Beresford Warming Centre in Burnaby, where three people have tested positive for the virus.

Richmond has lowest caseload in Lower Mainland

For the first time, Henry also provided more detailed geographic data about COVID-19 cases in B.C., breaking them down by the 16 health service delivery areas.

The numbers show that in the Lower Mainland, Richmond has had the lowest percentage of cases, with just 444 per million residents, compared to 832 in Vancouver, 911 on the North Shore, and 1,241 cases per million in the area from Abbotsford to Hope in Fraser Health.

The numbers also show that Richmond had no new COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks of May, the only part of the Lower Mainland where that was the case. 

As well, 83 per cent of B.C.’s new cases in the last two weeks of May were in just two health delivery areas — Fraser East and Fraser South.  

In the rest of the province, the only sub-region with a significantly higher percentage of COVID-19 cases was north Vancouver Island (comprising areas north of Qualicum Beach), with 483 cases per million residents compared to 92 cases in central Vancouver Island and 112 cases in south Vancouver Island. 

Men account for more deaths and hospitalizations

The figures presented by Henry also show a trend that has been noted in most other parts of the world. 

While slightly more women and girls have tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C., men and boys have been much more likely to have serious cases of the disease.

About two-thirds of COVID-19 patients who have been hospitalized were male — a proportion similar to those in intensive care and those who have died.

Data from the B.C. government shows that male patients are much more likely to be hospitalized or to die because of COVID-19. (B.C. government)

“We’ve talked about the biological reasons why this might be, but we do not have all the answers yet,” Henry said.

Meanwhile, people over the age of 70 are much more likely to die from the virus, even though people between the ages of 30 and 60 account for the majority of infections.

Other data presented Thursday suggest that since businesses and services began reopening on May 19, British Columbians have managed to keep their social contacts to between 30 and 40 per cent of what they were before the pandemic.

“That’s what we want to see,” Henry said.

She also said that modelling suggests that the partial reopening of schools that began on June 1 should have minimal impact on the spread of the virus, as long as adults maintain social distancing and those who are ill commit to self-isolating.

B.C. is now testing between 1,500 and 2,000 people for COVID-19 every day, and the percentage of those tests coming back positive has fallen in recent weeks. Anyone with symptoms can now get tested, and Henry said the province has the capacity to ramp up the testing rate if necessary.

If the curve of infection remains relatively flat, Henry said, she is hopeful that travel within B.C. will be safe by late June or early July.

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca.

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Coronavirus cases in Canada continue steady decline, death toll increases by 139 – Global News

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New novel coronavirus cases in Canada have been dropping for the past several days, with Ontario and Quebec continuing to account for the vast majority of new cases and deaths.

Canada saw 637 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported on Thursday, slightly lower than 705 a day earlier and 994 a week earlier, bringing the country’s caseload to more than 93,500 cases.

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The national death toll rose by 139 deaths, for a total of more than 7,600.

New modelling data revealed Thursday that Canada could see up to 9,400 deaths by mid-June.


READ MORE:
Up to 9,400 coronavirus deaths in Canada by June 15, new modelling suggests

Quebec remains the hardest hit province, with 55 per cent of the country’s cases and more than 60 per cent of Canada’s fatalities. The province reported 259 new cases and 91 deaths on Thursday — a drop from last week’s numbers, which hovered in the 500 range.

More than 52,000 cases have been reported overall, with over 17,000 recoveries. Nearly 4,900 people have died.

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Ontario reported 356 new cases and 45 new deaths, bringing its figures to nearly 29,500 cases and more than 2,300 deaths.

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British Columbia saw no new deaths on Thursday and five new cases, as well as four “epidemiologically-linked” cases — people who are symptomatic or have had close contact with a COVID-19 case, but haven’t been tested.

Global News has only included the five lab-confirmed cases in its official tally.






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Coronavirus: Team sports to gradually resume in Quebec

B.C. has seen more than 2,600 cases and 166 deaths, along with more than 2,200 recoveries. The number of people in hospital in the province has hit an 11-week low.

Alberta reported 15 new cases and one new death Thursday. More than 7,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 146 people have died. More than 6,600 people are considered recovered so far.


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How many Canadians have the new coronavirus? Total number of confirmed cases by region

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Saskatchewan reported just one new case and saw its active COVID-19 cases drop below five per cent. The province has seen nearly 650 cases so far, including more than 600 recoveries and 11 deaths.

New Brunswick reported one new case as well as its first COVID-19-related death on Thursday.






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The province’s first death related to the coronavirus is linked to the ongoing outbreak in the Campbellton region — a cluster that has been traced back to a doctor who contracted the virus in Quebec and did not self-isolate upon his return.

The man who died was an 84-year-old resident of a long-term care home in Atholville, N.B.

Nova Scotia reported one new death, bringing its tally to 1,058 cases and 61 deaths, as its active case total continued to go down. The majority of its death toll is linked to one long-term care home in Halifax.

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No new cases

Three provinces didn’t report any new cases or deaths on Thursday, while two territories that have seen all their COVID-19 cases resolved have not seen any new ones. Nunavut is the only region in Canada that has not reported a positive case.

Manitoba says it has seven active cases, out of a total of 287 lab-confirmed cases. That number includes seven deaths so far. The province says it has no COVID-19 hospitalizations at the moment.


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Newfoundland and Labrador is left with two active cases out of 261 total cases, including three deaths.

Globally, the virus has caused more than 1.8 million cases and close to 389,000 deaths, according to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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