COVID cases in Lynn Valley care home continue to climb

Cheryl Sanders
March 26, 2020

Forty-two residents of the North Vancouver care home and 19 health care workers who take care of residents there have tested positive for the virus, according to Dr. Bonnie Henry, medical health officer for the province. The death toll from the pandemic in now 14.

"It's heartening to me ... that we're not seeing dramatic increases and doubling in a day, or two days, or three days of hospitalized cases", Henry said. "With some of the most expensive rents in the country, $500 doesn't go far enough for renters in B.C. No one should have to choose between spreading the COVID-19 virus and paying rent", Leadnow senior campaigner Claire Gallagher said in a statement.

Holly Popenia, a lawyer with the Community Legal Assistance Society representing tenants advocacy groups, says the moratorium on evictions is welcome news for renters but she wonders what will happened once the COVID-19 crisis is over. "This fund is here to help those people that are in genuine distress", said BC Premier John Horgan.

As long as the province remains in a state of emergency, current and future evictions are suspended, with exceptions for health and safety issues.

"It's a bit of a dance right now", Henry said.

Dr. Henry once again stressed on the need for people to maintain social distance, even though her orders still allow for gatherings of up to 50 people.

Every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19: 330 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 194 are in the Fraser Health region, 44 are in the Vancouver Island Health region, 41 are in the Interior Health region and eight are in the Northern Heath region. Celebrations and ceremonies need to be postponed. Community connection is very important during this challenging time, but it must be done safely, either virtually or with physical distance.

"As the escalating numbers across B.C. show us, there is circulation and risk of COVID-19 throughout British Columbia. In addition, students are also much more likely to work in the service and hospitality industries, where there are major layoffs across the board", reads the letter. On Wednesday, Henry repeated the province's testing strategy, which is to focus on "where it makes the most difference in protecting the health-care system".

"For the most part, if you have a mild illness and it can be managed at home and you're in isolation and you're not going to pass it on to others, you may or may not be tested depending on whether there's a cluster that's detected around you in particular", Henry said.

The supplemental funds will be available through B.C. Housing for the next four months and paid directly to landlords when a tenant can not pay rent.

She said she has concerns about a possible spread of COVID-19 in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

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