COVID-19 in B.C.: Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses fatalities and health complications, including among children

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      Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix delivered today’s daily update on B.C.’s COVID-19 cases and also talked about fatality rates and health complications that have been reported in other places in the world.

      Daily update

      In today’s COVID-19 update for April 28, Dr. Henry said that 55 new cases have raised the cumulative provincial total to 2,053 cases. So far, there have been 803 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 918 in Fraser Health, 119 in Island Health, 168 in Interior Health, and 45 in Northern Health.

      There aren’t any new long-term care facilities reporting COVID-19 cases and the current number of affected facilities is 20, with 391 cases.

      The number of cases from the Superior Poultry outbreak in Coquitlam has risen from 25 to 46 cases while there remain 34 cases from the United Poultry outbreak in East Vancouver.

      Dix said the 55 new cases “underlines the serious nature of particular outbreaks”, such as those in the local food industry.

      “That tell us why we have to continue to be vigilant, especially in workplaces to ensure that people are kept safe,” he said.

      There are two new cases at the Mission Institution correctional facility, which has 120 inmates and 12 staff testing positive.

      The number of hospitalized cases is down from 97 people yesterday to 94, with 37 patients in intensive care units. That includes 30 in Vancouver Costal Health, 50 in Fraser Health, five in Interior Health, six in Island Health, and three in Northern Health.

      Unfortunately, two new deaths have raised the total fatalities to 105.

      The number of recoveries has increased to 1,231. 

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
      Province of British Columbia

      Fatalities and complications

      When asked about the number of fatalities from ICU patients, she said she didn’t have numbers available but that B.C.’s ICU case fatality rate, including people who have been on ventilators has been “much lower than that that’s been reported in other places around the world”. She added that ICU case numbers have been lower in B.C. than in other locations.

      Regarding complications developing in COVID-19 patients, she said that they have seen some examples, including blood-clotting, strokes, and cytokine storm syndrome (a systemic inflammatory response syndrome)

      However, she noted that they haven’t seen some of the complications in children that have been reported elsewhere, such as those recently reported in the U.K. and Italy.

      According to several news reports, U.K. doctors have been alerted about rare cases of severely sick children with multisystem inflammation and flu-like symptoms, some of whom have tested positive for the coronavirus and may be experiencing a toxic shock syndrome.

      Meanwhile, doctors in Northern Italy, which was especially hit hard by COVID-19, have reported large numbers of children with what appears to be Kawasaki disease, in which blood vessels become inflamed.

      Thus far, Dr. Henry said B.C. has only had five cases in children under 10 years of age, including an infant, and 14 cases in people between 10 and 19 years old. There has only been only one child admitted to hospital and there haven't been any ICU admissions for children.

      She said they are monitoring excess deaths in the community related to both COVID-19 and other issues on a daily basis.

      In addition, she said they are also looking at unintended consequences of health measures, including upon mental health, violence in the home, exacerbation of chronic diseases, and delayed surgeries, although she doesn’t have the full data yet.

      She added that the rescheduling of surgeries is taking into account “how long can you delay the surgery without the probability of having adverse effects”.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.