Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:
“We are announcing seven new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 46 cases in British Columbia. The individuals are in the Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health and Island Health regions.
“Two cases are connected to the Lynn Valley Care Centre, three cases are travel-related and two are community cases.
“Case 40 is a male in 20s living in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, and case 45 is a woman in her 50s living in the Fraser Health region. Both work at the Lynn Valley Care Centre. There are no new resident cases.
“Case 43 is a male in his 70s living in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. Case 46 is a man in his 60s living in the Island Health region. Both cases 43 and 46 have returned from travelling in Egypt.
“Case 42 is a man in his 70s from Egypt, who is visiting family in the Fraser Health region.
“Case 41 is a woman in her 60s, currently in hospital. Case 44 is a man in his 60s. Both are new community cases, who were identified through laboratory surveillance, and both reside in the Fraser Health region.
“Three patients have been discharged from hospital and are now recovering at home. One person is in hospital. All other patients with COVID-19 remain in isolation at home with care and support from public health teams.
“We have seen an increase in community cases in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley in recent days, where the source of the virus infection is not yet known. Public health teams are actively investigating, as we continue work to limit the spread of transmission in B.C.
“Today, we are asking British Columbians to take additional care of seniors and people with compromised immune systems. Do not visit them if you are sick. If they are living at home and are sick, consider how you may support them with food and other necessities. If you need to visit a long-term care home or other health-care facility, go one person at a time and limit your visit to the person you know.
“We are working with all long-term care and assisted living facilities to implement enhanced prevention measures to further protect all residents.
“If any British Columbian has been notified by event organizers that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, such as the recent Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto, we are strongly recommending social distancing in the workplace and at home, especially from those most vulnerable, in addition to closely monitoring for symptoms.
“Today, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic. As part of the British Columbia Pandemic Provincial Co-ordination Plan, we continue to focus on containment to break the chains of transmission, and we are using all the tools in our toolbox required at this time.
“As an example, callers to British Columbia’s HealthLink 811 line have experienced intermittent busy signals today as call volume has increased. We are resolving this by adding more staff, more phone lines and a new menu option to provide a dedicated queue for calls about COVID-19.
“The British Columbia Pandemic Provincial Co-ordination Plan details the preparations and comprehensive toolkit to respond to the evolving outbreak. This will be an ongoing resource for the province.”
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