The B.C. Ministry of Health has announced seven new cases of novel coronavirus bringing the total number of cases in the province to 39.
Among these patients are two who work at Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver where one resident recently died after contracting COVID-19.
Five of the novel coronavirus patients identified today reside in the Vancouver Health Region while two live in the Fraser Health Region.
Neither of the cases in the Fraser Health Region were contracted during travels and while the individuals, a man in his 90s and a man in his 40s, are recovering in isolation, they are community cases in which the source of transmission has not yet been identified.
In more positive news, the woman in her 80s who was admitted to ICU at Vancouver General Hospital with a critical case of coronavirus has been released from hospital today and is recovering at home.
According to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, one of the passengers of the Grand Princess cruise ship who was in hospital in the Fraser Health Region has also been released. His travel companion remains at the hospital but is in stable condition.
Meanwhile as the situation escalates in Italy, health authorities in Canada and B.C. state that anyone who travels to Canada from Italy will now be asked to self isolate for 14 days, just like travellers from Iran and Hubei province, China.
As part of their pandemic preparedness program, Dr. Henry says that the BCCDC has conducted as many COVID-19 tests in the last four days as they did in the last two weeks of monitoring for the virus.
“The risk of transmission we have now is still really low in B.C. and most of the risk comes from travel, international travel, including travel to Washington state,” said Henry.
Dr. Henry also reiterated the federal government’s advisory to avoid cruise ship travel and believes that cruise season in the region should be delayed due to coronavirus.
Earlier on Tuesday, Glenlyon Norfolk School closed both their Victoria and Oak Bay campuses due to a coronavirus scare.
One member of the school travelled recently, is displaying symptoms that have not been ruled out as COVID-19, and is awaiting test results.
Out of an abundance of caution, authorities decided to shut down both campuses on March 10th. The closure is being treated as an early spring break and both schools should reopen on March 31st.
Both campuses will be undergoing a deep clean and sanitization process over the next few weeks before classes resume.
The BCCDC has set up up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.
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.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 118,905.
Nearly 4,300 people have died from the illness and 65,110 have made a fully recovery.