Coronavirus updates for March 30: Royal Arch Masonic Home becomes 12th B.C. seniors facility to record COVID-19 case

The latest news on the novel coronavirus from Vancouver, B.C., and across Canada

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      7:30 a.m.

      A 151-bed long-term care home in South Vancouver is the latest to record a case of COVID-19.

      Vancouver Coastal Health has notified family members that there's an investigation into a single incident at Royal Arch Masonic Home in the Champlain Heights neighbourhood.

      News 1130 has reported that a staff member tested positive. As a result, some residents have to eat their meals in their rooms.

      Royal Arch Masonic Home opened in 1982 and is operated by a nonprofit group, the Royal Arch Masonic Homes Society.

      It's the 12th care home in B.C. where a staff member or resident has contracted the novel coronavirus.

      After a COVID-19 outbreak at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver, staff in seniors' facilities are prohibited from working at more than one long-term care home.

      7 a.m. Reusable bags discouraged in grocery stores

      This past weekend, people had to line up to get into many grocery stores in B.C. That's because of new guidelines introduced by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and the Ministry of Health.

      They advise that no more than 50 people at a time should be allowed inside grocery retail food and grocery stores under most circumstances.

      It's a guideline, not a rule, so it's permissible to allow more than 50 people if there's enough space to allow proper physical distancing.

      In addition, customers are being discouraged from using reusable bags or containers. And bulk items must not be sold except via gravity feed bins.

      Grocery stores are also placing pieces of tape on the floor every two metres to show where people should line up to maintain physical distancing.

      6 a.m. Poll shows some feel coronavirus is overblown

      Not all Canadians are freaked out about COVID-19.

      An Angus Reid Institute poll shows that about 12 percent of respondents felt that the threat of a coronavirus outbreak in Canada is overblown, whereas 88 percent called the threat "serious".

      The poll was conducted from March 20 to 23.

      This hardcore group of skeptics is down sharply from the 69 percent who felt it was overblown in the first week of February.

      The pollster expanded the sample size of the skeptics from 195 in the original survey to 385 in the recent snapshot.

      The vast majority of them in the recent poll—64 percent—voted Conservative in the last federal election.

      Of those who felt the coronavirus threat was overblown, the largest percentage, 23 percent, are males 55 years and older. Another 22 percent are males between the ages of 35 and 54.

      Residents of B.C. and Alberta are disproportionately represented among the skeptics.

      The poll was released not long after one of Canada's most famous conservative commentators, Conrad Black, wrote a column in the National Post insisting that the pandemic "shows no signs of remotely approaching a scale that justifies the emergency measures that have been taken".

      Case summary

      Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix are expected to deliver their latest update at 3 p.m. today.

      As of March 28, there were:

      * 884 cases confirmed in B.C.

      * 396 people had recovered from COVID-19.

      * 17 deaths from COVID-19 in B.C.

      *  444 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health region.

      * 291 cases in Fraser Health region.

      * 77 cases in Interior Health region.

      * 60 cases in Island Health region.

      * 12 cases in Northern Health region.

      * 38,697 tests completed.