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March 11: first case of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island

Now 46 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in BC

Wednesday March 11, 2020 ~ BC

by Mary Brooke ~ West Shore Voice News

There are 46 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in BC it was announced today March 11 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 39 yesterday.

And one of those cases is the first on Vancouver Island, in a man in his 60s who returned from a trip to Egypt. Dr Henry would not identify where in the Island Health region that the man lives.

One of today’s new confirmed cases is someone who traveled to Egypt and returned to the Lower Mainland — a man in his 70s (Vancouver Coastal health region). That case is related to the Egypt-travel case as announced March 10. There is also a visitor from Egypt – a man in his 70s visiting family in the Fraser Health region, who has been confirmed as positive for the disease.

Iran, Egypt, map
Map showing the proximity of Egypt to Iran. The outbreak in Iran has been significant.

Middle East note: There are 59 cases in Egypt so far (1 death), in the same region as Iran where there has been a significant outbreak of 8,042 cases (291 deaths). In that Middle East region there have been 110 cases (no deaths) in Bahrain, 74 cases in the United Arab Emirates (no deaths), 69 in Kuwait (no deaths), 61 in Iraq (6 deaths), and 16 in Pakistan (no deaths).

Lynn Valley Care Centre
Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver [web]

Today in BC there are two more cases related to the case at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver — a man in his 20s (Vancouver Coastal Health region), and a woman in her 50s (Fraser Health). Additional close contacts are being tracked down by health officials.

Two additional cases arose from regular influenza testing (both in Fraser Health) — a woman in her 60s presently in hospital in stable condition, and a man in his 60s in isolation at home. These would both very likely be as a result of community spread.

Grand Princess
The Grand Princess cruise ship [web]

The man in his 90s admitted to hospital yesterday has improved and is discharged to recover at home.

A woman in her 60s who was on the Grand Princess tour February 11 to 21 has also been discharged home.

Case 21 of the health care worker at Lynn Valley Care Centre had been admitted to hospital a few days ago and has also been discharged home. “All this is good news,” said Dr Henry.

In light of today’s WHO declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, Dr Henry says it’s important to recognize “how fragile our long term care system is and how we need to be doing more to enhance our protection of people in long term care and assisted living facilities”. But she also said there are “great stories of people infected and who ave done well”. She added: “This reflects a health care system that provides the care they need. We have to make sure we can continue as this progresses around the world.”

Public Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry
Public Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry announces six new cases of COVID-19 in BC at a media conference on Saturday March 7, 2020 in Vancouver [screenshot]

Health Minister Dix says the daily COVID-19 media session announcements (as announced last Saturday) will only be held on Saturdays as required. Media events have not to date been held on any Sundays.

There is no cure or vaccine for the new coronavirus, with the only treatment being to ease symptoms and provide ventilation with a respirator in advanced cases. Today the federal government increased its funding for research. Health officials say a vaccine might be ready for the Fall 2020 flu season, but there are no guarantees on that timing or indications about the rate of effectiveness of such a vaccine.

Dr Henry again repeatedly 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 mass gatherings. And so far, no closure of schools has been recommended by Dr Henry. So far, no major sporting events on Vancouver Island have been cancelled.

As of March 11 World Health Organization (WHO) Report #51 statistics show 118,326 confirmed COVID-19 cases globally, with 37,371 of those outside China which was the epicentre of the disease. In total there have been 4,292 deaths (now 1,130 outside China). Now 113 countries have reported confirmed cases.

Today the World Health Organization’s Director-General commended China for containing the disease for as long as they did. That was echoed by BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry who said today: “Measures in place in China have bought us the time to understand more about this virus than we would several weeks ago.”


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/