COVID-19: Workers test positive after returning from Alberta oilsands outbreak


There are three people now reported in hospital, two of which are in intensive care, and 30 people who have recovered from the coronavirus disease in northern B.C. There are at least four active cases affecting the Blueberry River First Nation.

Henry made the comments on Monday at her daily briefing on COVID-19, where she announced 52 new cases and five more deaths had been recorded since Saturday, bringing the total number of people who have succumbed to the virus in B.C. up to 86. Health authorities note that many BC residents travel back and forth between the two areas to work.

Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix pleaded with all British Columbians to continue to maintain physical distance from one another and limit trips to public places.

Henry said that at least seven people who returned to B.C. from the Kearl Lake oilsands work camp, where there has been an outbreak, have tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, a newly-developed COVID-19 testing kit, which takes less than 45 minutes to complete, is being deployed in several health authorities - with a priority given to rural and remote sites.

There are now 115 people in hospital, including 54 in critical care.

The total number of cases reported in the north since the beginning of the outbreak rose to 39 on Monday.

The outbreak at the Mission federal correctional institute in the Fraser Valley continues to grow.

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Henry said health officials want to avoid another spike in community spread.

Henry said B.C. will remain vulnerable to outbreaks and challenges in other provinces, and that, though the curve appears to have flattened, it's too early to relax current physical distancing measures.

"So, right now, anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 can now be assessed and tested, either through your family physician, your nurse practitioner, or a local community collection centre, and you can call 811 to find out where those are", Henry said.

In the weeks that followed, Dr. Henry said those who had possible contact with the inmate were also tested and all results were negative for the virus. If you have no symptoms, the test has limited benefit.

The good news, as stated by Dr. Henry, is that everyone in B.C. can now be tested for COVID-19, but she also reiterates that not everyone needs to be tested as long as they don't show symptoms.

"We are not through the storm".

Once again, Henry emphasized that the "new normal" that residents of the province can expect in the coming months will be very different from the way things were before the pandemic. That is part of whole way we need to approach this.