Tuesday March 10, 2020 ~ BC
by Mary Brooke ~ West Shore Voice News
There are 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in BC it was announced today March 10 by BC Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry in a joint update session this afternoon with BC Health Minister Adrian Dix. That’s up from 32 yesterday.
Minister Dix summarized the profile of the 39 cases: 16 are linked to travel to Iran, one to travel in Hong Kong or India, one from Washington State, eight at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver (two of those are family members or close contacts), three from a trip on the Grand Princess cruise ship that came back February 21, one who travelled back from Italy, one back from Germany, and three that are still to be determined. All of the 39 cases are on the BC Lower Mainland (none on Vancouver Island): 25 are in Vancouver Coastal Health and 14 are in the Fraser Health Region.
“We have dramatically increased the level of testing,” said Dr Henry. “There has been significantly more testing this week than in the previous two weeks. We’re now doing tests at five sites, all under BC Center for Disease Control (BC CDC).”
“A male resident of Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver died late last night, after being infected with the coronavirus sometime this month,” said Dr Henry. “The elderly patient had not traveled; the infection came by way of a care worker through a process that public health officials call ‘community spread’.”
There is no cure or vaccine for the new virus, with the only treatment being to ease symptoms and provide ventilation with a respirator in advanced cases.
Both Dr Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix reminded people about staying home if you’re sick. That includes staying home from large and smaller close-contact gatherings, especially where personal contact is expected.
BC Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada have protocols for assisting organizations with risk assessment for deciding whether or not to hold events.
Factors for risk assessment of holding an event include who is coming (age, whether they have travelled, etc), and whether it is held indoors or outdoors (less risk for outdoors). Also assessed is “what organizers can do to reduce the risk”, said Dr Henry. She added that people should be discouraged from attending an event if they are sick. An organized event should give people the ability to clean their hands regularly. The frequency of cleaning in different areas of a venue is assessed. Communal meals or buffets are not recommended, instead there should be individually packaged meals, Dr Henry explained.
As well there is a ‘no cruise ships’ advisory for all Canadians from Canada’s top doctor, Dr Teresa Tam: “The Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending that Canadians avoid all cruise ship travel due to COVID-19.”
“Most of Canada’s cases include travellers from an affected area, or their close contacts,” Tam said yesterday in Ottawa.
All of Italy is on lockdown today, where COVID-19 has spread rampantly.
As evidenced by the two cases at the Lynn Valley Care Centre long-term care centre in North Vancouver, BC is now experiencing ‘community spread’ of COVID-19.
As of March 10 World Health Organization (WHO) statistics show 113,702 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, 32,778 of which are outside China (in 109 countries). There have been 872 deaths outside China which was the epicenter of the disease.
Pandemic Plan is in place in BC, says Premier (article about 2-hour BC Health media announcement on March 6, 2020)
COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and planning materials: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/pandemic-influenza.
Recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)
For more information and latest updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit http://www.bccdc.ca/