(file photo)

In an announcement on Thursday afternoon, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province now has eight new cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the total up to 21.

Dr. Henry stated that four of the eight new cases are not surprising as they are close contacts of one of the cases announced last week involving a man in his 60s in the Fraser Health region.

These four individuals are a man in his 20s, a man in his 30s, a woman in her 50s, and a woman in her 60s.

See also: BC CDC launches $150,000 genomics study to analyze coronavirus characteristics and monitor spread

The other four new cases have no connection to any previous COVID-19 patients in the province.

Two of them, a woman in her 50s and a man in his 60s, reside in the same household and both returned to Canada after travelling in Iran.

One of the remaining patients is a Seattle resident who is visiting family in the Fraser Health region.

“That is of concern and we are working with neighbours in Washington to determine where the exposure has been,” said Dr. Henry.

The last patient, and most concerning of all, is an individual in the Vancouver Coastal Health region who has not recently travelled and has had no contact with anyone who has previously been diagnosed with COVID-19.

“We are doing a detailed investigation to determine where her source of infection was,” said Dr. Henry.

“People who are coming back from travel, we really ask them to be very cognizant of their own symptoms and have a very low threshold to stay home, stay away from others,” she added.

Total cases

This announcement brings the total number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. to 21, and the total positive cases in Canada is at 45.

None of these cases are on Vancouver Island, and there have been no deaths connected to novel coronavirus in Canada.

A woman in her 80s who travelled to Hong Kong and India returned to Vancouver Coastal Health Region and was diagnosed with a critical case of COVID-19. The latest information states that she is in isolation in ICU at Vancouver General Hospital.

See also: B.C. woman in her 80s contracts critical case of coronavirus 

As of Thursday, the BCCDC has set up up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at: 1-833-784-4397.

Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.

Starting March 3rd, Canada Border Services Agency officers have been taking contact information from all travellers arriving from Iran, requiring them to self-isolate for 14 days and to contact public health officials.

This process was already in place for people arriving from Hubei, China.

Meanwhile neighbouring Washington state announced that 10 people have died of COVID-19 in the past week.

As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 98,088.

Nearly 3,356 people have died from the illness and 54,142 have made a fully recovery.

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