The B.C. Ministry of Health has reported 30 new cases of novel coronavirus in the province, bringing the total number cases in B.C. to 103 people.
According to Dr. Bonnie Henry, six people are now in acute care in hospital, while everyone else is recovering at home in isolation, in stable condition.
Five people have met the criteria to be declared as recovered from COVID-19 but there are many more whose symptoms have disappeared and authorities are waiting for negative test results in order to confirm their recovery.
In unfortunate news, Dr. Henry also confirmed that three people have died due to novel coronavirus, all of whom were residents at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in north Vancouver. This brings the total death toll of COVID-19 to four in B.C.
There are also new coronavirus cases recorded on Vancouver Island and in the Interior Health Region, as well as increased numbers of cases in Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health Regions.
Dr. Henry clarified that there are seven new cases in the Island Health region but has not confirmed where the patients reside.
Multiple cases were linked to a dental conference that took place in Vancouver, and Dr. Henry says everyone who attended the conference needs to self isolate immediately.
“The vast majority of our cases have been imported cases, people are being identified across U.S., in countries that may not have recognized they have transmission, and from multiple cruises in many parts of the world,” said Henry.
In order to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 transmission in B.C., Dr. Henry’s previous provincial health order cancelling gatherings greater than 250 people has been amended. All events and gatherings of more than 50 people have been cancelled.
A formal announcement regarding measures to mitigate the risk of transmission at public schools will be made on Tuesday, March 17th.
Moreover, hospitals are now cancelling elective surgeries and taking additional actions to prioritize urgent patients.
Authorities will also be working to protect seniors at long term care homes, by restricting visitors at these care homes to essential visits only.
On the recommendation of Dr. Henry, the Attorney General has ordered the closure of all casinos in B.C. until further notice as of 11:59 p.m. today.
In an announcement on Monday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would be tightening its borders and denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.
Designated exceptions to this rule include U.S. citizens, airline crews, diplomats, and people whose immediate families are Canadian.
However B.C. Minister of Health Adrian Dix is still urging Americans not to travel to the province in light of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Airlines will also receive a formal direction to prohibit all passengers who have symptoms of COVID-19, as assessed by public health officials, from boarding a plane, ensuring no one with any symptoms will be able to enter the country.
Moreover international flights will now be restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.
Further federal measures to financially support Canadians, particularly the most vulnerable population, are expected to be announced on Tuesday.
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.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 175,769.
Nearly 6,800 people have died from the illness and 77,868 have made a full recovery.