The B.C. Ministry of Health has reported 11 new cases of novel coronavirus in the province, bringing the total number cases in B.C. to 64.
“As we are seeing increasing numbers of coronavirus, given the challenge and time it takes for investigations, we won’t be able to give you as much details on each individual but will give you as much info as you need to understand how this pandemic is unfolding,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer.
All the new cases announced today are located in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. Three of the people who tested positive for COVID-19 are administrative staff at Lionsgate Hospital.
“The investigation is ongoing to understand where they got this and to ensure that the rest of the hospital is safe. These aren’t people who had patient contact,” adds Henry.
One additional positive case is related to the Lynn Valley Care Centre in north Vancouver that saw an outbreak over the past week.
There are five more travel related cases among individuals who returned from travelling to Iran, Egypt, Philippines, and Mexico.
An additional two cases are still under investigation as health officials work to determine where the individuals contracted COVID-19.
All of the people reported today are recovering in isolation. There are currently two people recovering in hospital.
Out of the 64 people who have thus far tested positive for COVID-19 in B.C., six people have fully recovered from the illness.
There remains one case of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island – a 63-year-old man who lives in Victoria and recently returned from travelling to Egypt. He is recovering at home in isolation.
As part of her update today, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the imposition of a provincial health order to mandatorily ban gatherings of over 250 people in the province.
She adds that this order will allow event organizers to avail cancellation insurance for those who are forced to cancel their events.
Dr. Henry also clarified that COVID-19 testing is not necessary for everyone who returns from travelling, particularly if they have not exhibited any symptoms of illness.
This comment clears up questions surrounding why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not received coronavirus testing despite his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau testing positive for the illness.
Earlier today, Transport Canada banned all cruise ships with 500 passengers or more from docking at ports in Canada until June 1st.
The federal government is also looking at measures to restrict incoming international flights to a small number of airports across the country.
Trudeau also announced that the government is working on a fiscal aid package that will directly benefit individuals and small businesses affected financially by COVID-19.
In light of the global coronavirus pandemic, the B.C. and federal Ministry of Health have advised against all non essential travel outside Canada, including to the United States.
Those who do choose to travel against this advice will be asked to self isolate from school or work for 14 days upon their return to Canada.
The BCCDC has set 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.
According to health minister Adrian Dix, authorities have received over 10,000 calls to 8-1-1 over the past three days.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 145,336.
Nearly 5,500 people have died from the illness and 70,921 have made a full recovery.