Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix give an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C. legislature, April 9, 2020. (B.C. government)

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix give an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C. legislature, April 9, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C.’s COVID-19 case total up by 45 after Easter weekend

B.C. Ferries volume down 92 per cent on major routes

B.C. had 25 new positive COVID-19 tests by April 12 and 20 more by April 13, bringing the total positive tests to 1,490 in the novel coronavirus pandemic.

New cases in the 20 affected B.C. senior care homes have risen to 254, with 11 new deaths over two days mostly attributed to those facilities, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

Henry noted that April 13 marks her 50th daily update on the pandemic, with hospitalized patients holding steady at 137 and 905 people recovered and out of care or home isolation.

“And I’m asking you to hold the line,” Henry said, in advice that has become familiar to B.C. residents. “This is not forever, but it is for now, and what you do makes a difference.”

Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix addressed the public outcry over Easter weekend traffic on B.C. Ferries routes, noting that compared to 2019, ferry passenger loads were down more than 90 per cent on major routes.

RELATED: B.C. golf courses reopening with COVID-19 precautions

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“B.C. Ferries continues to report more than 80 per cent decline on travellers on all of their routes, so that is something that reassures us,” Henry said. “But I do want to say there are many reasons why people may need to travel. Essential travel is still required to keep our province going, to make sure that we have the food, the medications, the things that we need in all parts of the province.”

Dix gave the comparative figures for Thursday-to-Easter Sunday traffic on the Swartz Bay-Nanaimo-Tsawwassen major routes, from 173,284 last year to 14,633 for Easter 2020, a drop of 92 per cent. Horseshoe Bay to Langdale for the Sunshine coast fell from 21,398 to 3,911, and on the Southern Gulf Islands routes from 23,349 to 3,342. Other minor routes totalled 8,908 for the four days, down from 42,904 during Easter 2019.

“I know that there has been a lot of discussion and a lot of frustration in communities about people who may appear at least to be travelling unnecessarily,” Dix said. “Undoubtedly there are cases where that’s the case.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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