Why BC doesn't project coronavirus death totals like other provinces

Apr 3 2020, 5:11 pm

After health officials in Ontario projected on Friday morning that the provincial death toll for the entirety of the coronavirus pandemic – with the existing measures in place – could be anywhere from 3,000 to 15,000, BC Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry spoke on Friday afternoon about why BC does not make or include similar projections in its own updates and projection modelling.

“We do not predict and our modelling is not to predict,” said Henry during an afternoon press conference.

Modelling, she furthered, “gives you a sense of what could happen in different scenarios, and as we present it, the modelling we’ve done, really, is about how we prepare so that we can meet those scenarios no matter what happens, and our numbers tell the story of what happens.”

She noted that “we all have our own pandemic that we’re moving through, and even in different parts of BC it’s quite different; you can’t predict where this is going to erupt.”

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In the Lower Mainland, for example, “we know that this virus has been driven primarily by it getting into long-term care homes, particularly too that it got in very early before it was recognized,” she said. “And 24 of our 25 people who have died have been from those long-term care homes. You can’t model that, you can’t predict that, and that’s why I don’t feel it’s particularly useful to have that as part of our modelling.”

Instead, she continued, “what we need to know is what resources we have, so that we give everybody the best chance they have of surviving this disease, and also ensure that we have the healthcare and health services available for everybody else who needs it at the same time.”

This, she said, “is the approach that we’ve taken here in BC.”

On Friday, Henry, along with BC Health Minister Adrian Dix, announced four more people in the province have died from COVID-19.

Henry also announced 53 new test-positive cases, bringing the number of provincial cases to 1,174. A total of 35 people in BC have now died from coronavirus.

Broken down by health region, Henry said there are 541 known cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 412 in Fraser Health, 74 on Vancouver Island, 126 in Interior Health, and 21 in Northern Health.

Of the total cases, 146 are hospitalized with 64 in ICU. A total of 641 people have fully recovered.