Dr. Bonnie Henry links jump in B.C. COVID-19 cases to work camp in Alberta oilsands

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      The provincial public health officer wants Alberta oilsands workers who come back to B.C. on their breaks to self-isolate.

      Dr. Bonnie Henry pointed out that there continue to be positive test results for COVID-19 linked to a project north of Fort McMurray.

      "One of the more challenging issues that we've had recently is an increase in numbers of cases here associated with the Kearl Lake plant in Alberta," Henry told reporters today. 

      There have even been instances where family members have contracted COVID-19 after a worker has returned to B.C.

      She warned that it's "far too easy to tip the scales against us and undo the hard work and sacrifice that everybody here in B.C. has made".

      "The risks in B.C. are very high," Henry emphasized. "This is part of our response to our pandemic here—making sure we have a very low threshold for keeping people apart who are sick, [with] any symptoms at all."

      She acknowledged that sometimes, people don't know who has been in contact with whom.  

      "Here in B.C., we are requiring people who have come back from working in that facility to self-isolate whilst they're in B.C.," Henry said.

      She recognizes that the Alberta government has deemed work at the plant to be essential. 

      "But as cases continue to be found both in Alberta and here in B.C., this is very important for us—vitally important for us in British Columbia—that anybody who has been at the site since March 24 needs to follow our requirements in British Columbia when they are home," Henry said. "This includes your entire family being very diligent about physical distancing, self-isolating on your return."

      An outbreak of COVID-19 at the Kearl Lake Camp in Alberta is having reverberations in B.C.

      Number of hospitalizations falls in B.C.

      In today's briefing, the provincial health officer reported that there were 26 new positive tests for COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing B.C.'s total to 2,171.

      Of those, 992 are in the Fraser Health region and 832 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

      Another 175 cases are in the B.C. Interior, 123 on Vancouver Island, and 49 in the northern health region.

      Henry said that a new community outbreak is under investigation at Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry. Three cases have been linked to the facility so far.

      "We continue to have 50 people associated with the Superior Poultry outbreak and 42 associated with the United Poultry outbreak."

      That's in addition to well over 100 inmates and staff who've have tested positive for COVID-19 at a federal correctional facility in Mission.

      The number of hospitalizations fell from 79 to 72, reflecting a trend that has been in place for a while.

      There are 23 people in intensive care, down from 24 reported on Friday (May 1).

      Henry revealed that there have been two more deaths from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, one in the Fraser Health region and the other in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. This has brought the provincial total to 114.

      "You know our thoughts and prayers, of course, go to the families and the loved ones and the care providers for these people," she said. "We recognize how difficult a time it is, particularly when we can't have the ceremonies that are so important to us in the same way right now."

      On the upside, 1,376 people have fully recovered from COVID-19 in B.C.

      Video: Watch Dr. Bonnie Henry's COVID-19 update today.