The latest updates from the Ministry of Health indicate that as of today, there are 22 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus on Vancouver Island.
So far, there has been some indication of where a few of these patients reside – a 63-year-old man in Victoria who returned from a trip to Egypt, a confirmed case at the University of Victoria, and a case in Comox Valley confirmed by an island doctor via Facebook.
But by and large, Island Health and the Ministry of Health have declined to disclose the exact cities or municipalities in which the COVID-19 patients reside.
This has led to a plethora of questions from community members wondering why this information is being withheld from the public.
In a video shared by Island Health on Thursday, Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick provides an answer.
“These individuals are our patients. They deserve the same respect and privacy that anyone else seeking care or treatment at our facilities get,” says Dr. Stanwick.
“The information that has been collected to date has largely been used to identify the fact that the virus has arrived on the island. In short order, there will be multiple cases and the novelty of the arrival of this virus will pass.”
“Therefore we’re asking you respect our decision to not reveal details beyond the ones we’re providing.”
"The virus has arrived on the island. In short order there will be multiple cases and the novelty of the arrival of this virus will pass". A message from our Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Richard Stanwick.
Posted by Island Health on Thursday, March 19, 2020
To date, there are 22 cases of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island, out of 271 positive cases in British Columbia.
The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic.
Earlier this week, B.C. joined Alberta and Ontario in declaring a public health emergency in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.
On Wednesday, B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth declared a provincial state of emergency to support the health ministry’s public health emergency.
The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C.
Canada has tightened its borders and is denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.
U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule, and non-essential travel between U.S. and Canada will be temporarily banned by March 21st. Moreover international flights have been restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.
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.
The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19 line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 266,175.
Over 11,186 people have died from the illness and 90,603 have made a full recovery.