Home Health COVID-19 BC Coroner: First COVID-19 death in BC outside of hospital

BC Coroner: First COVID-19 death in BC outside of hospital

Monday March 30, 2020 ~ VANCOUVER

by Mary Brooke, B.Sc. ~ West Shore Voice News

The BC Coroners Service today March 30 has confirmed the first COVID-19-related death in the community, following post-mortem testing, involving a male from the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. The man died in his residence.

Due to the privacy of the deceased, as required by the Coroners Act and provincial privacy legislation, the BC Coroners Service says it does not confirm or release identity.

Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry also mentioned the death in her daily joint COVID-19 press conference with Minister Adrian Dix today, saying it occurred outside of hospital. The man was found deceased at home.

The incubation period for COVID-19 infection is thought to be 14 days. With some urgency, Dr Henry said today: “This is it. This is our watershed, these coming weeks. We will flatten that curve no matter how long it takes.  This is our week to reinforce our effort. To do our part together while we’re staying apart,” she told media today.

Data accumulation on COVID-19 infection in BC is focused on people being in hospital or in contact with public health officials during self-isolation at home if cases have been identified or confirmed or are related to a person having travelled in the last 14 days.

confirmed cases, COVID-19, March 30, 2020
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in BC as at March 30, 2020 [BC Centre for Disease Control]

As of today March 30, there are 970 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in BC, said Dr Henry. Of those, 19 have died. Today’s statistics from the BC Centre for Disease Control:

  • 970 confirmed cases
  • 469 recovered in BC
  • 19 deaths in BC
  • Cases by region:
    • 323 in Fraser Health
    • 94 in Interior Health
    • 67 in Island Health
    • 14 in Northern Health
    • 472 in Vancouver Coastal Health
  • 42,028 tests completed.  
ventilator, acute care
Use of a ventilator in acute care. [web]

Acute cases of COVID-19 require use of a ventilator in hospital, to assist the patient with breathing as the virus attacks cells in the lower lungs.

“Deaths that are unnatural, or sudden and unexpected, must be reported to a coroner. If cause of death cannot be reasonably established through examination of the body, scene and history, additional post-mortem investigations will be undertaken,” it was stated by the BC Coroner today.

“Evidence could range from medical to non-medical evidence, such as locations where the individual was present prior to death, etc,” said BC Coroner Andy Watson.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, coroners in BC will gather additional information in apparently natural sudden deaths in the community to determine whether COVID-19 played a role.