Seven more people in B.C. have tested positive for the coronavirus, including two health-care workers at a long-term care home in North Vancouver, according to the provincial health officer, bringing B.C.’s total to 39.
Two of those cases appear to have been contracted through community transmission, Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday afternoon in Vancouver. Three are travel-related.
“It is these community cases that give us some degree of concern and grief,” Henry told a news conference in Vancouver.
“But being able to detect them is really important, because as soon as we detect them, we can start that detailed investigation to determine where they might have come in contact and it helps us uncover where other chains of transmission are in our community.”
The two cases of apparent community transmission, men in their 90s and 40s, are both residents of the Fraser Health region who are currently in isolation at home.
The travel-related cases include a woman in her 60s who recently returned from a tour in Egypt, a man in his 40s who travelled to Germany and a man in his 90s who returned from a cruise on the Grand Princess in February.
The two health-care workers were both exposed at Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver — a coronavirus hotspot linked to eight cases to date and one death; the first in Canada.
The outbreak at the care home began with B.C.’s first recorded case of community transmission, a woman in her 50s. That patient was admitted to hospital overnight on Monday, and is in stable condition Henry said.
The care home said in a statement its staff are “taking every action and precaution necessary to ensure the virus is contained.” Any employees or residents with flu-like symptoms are being tested for the coronavirus.
Henry added that in light of the worsening situation in Italy, officials are asking anyone who returns from travelling there to self-isolate for 14 days, the same precautions taken for those returning from Iran and China.
Tuesday’s announcement wasn’t all bad news, though. An 80-year-old woman who was in critical condition at Vancouver General Hospital has now returned home to continue her recovery from the virus, Henry said.
To date, 39 people in B.C. have tested positive for the virus. Ontario has 36 confirmed cases, Alberta 14 and Quebec four with one presumptive case bringing the total number of cases in Canada to 94.
Two private schools in B.C. — Collingwood in West Vancouver and Glenlyon-Norfolk in Victoria — have closed four days early for spring break over concerns a person who may have contracted the coronavirus had been in the school.
Across the border, Washington state remains the hardest hit in all the U.S., reporting 24 deaths to date with over 250 people infected.
Earlier in the day, Air Canada suspended all flights to and from Italy, with the final return flight departing Rome for Montreal on Wednesday.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has put the entire country on lockdown in a sweeping attempt to contain the COVID-19 outbreak which has so far infected over 9,000 people and killed more than 460.