B.C. identifies 7 new cases of COVID-19, including 2 care home workers
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia has identified seven new cases of the COVID-19 virus, including two people who work at the North Vancouver care home where a resident recently died.
The outbreak at Lynn Valley Care Centre has caused significant alarm, as older people are more prone to severe symptoms, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said none of the newly confirmed cases are residents of the home.
"That's good news," Henry told reporters on Tuesday. "Everybody in the facility is being monitored and assessed and those who have symptoms are being tested for COVID-19."
There are now four workers from Lynn Valley Care Centre infected with the virus. Most are in self-isolation, but the first employee identified – a woman who caught COVID-19 through community transmission, meaning she hasn't travelled recently or come into close contact with a known carrier – was admitted to hospital overnight.
"She's in stable condition and is being monitored and cared for," Dr. Henry said.
Two of the other newly identified COVID-19 patients are also so-called "community cases," and both live in the Fraser Health region that spans from Burnaby to Hope. One is a man in his 90s who is being treated in hospital, the other is a man in his 40s who is in isolation at home.
"It's these community cases that give us some degree of concern and grief, but being able to detect them is really important," Henry said. "As soon as we detect them, we can start that detailed investigation to find out where they might have come in contact (with the virus) and that helps us uncover where other chains of transmission are in our community."
The remaining three cases are all travellers from the Vancouver Coastal Health region, which including Vancouver, Richmond and the North Shore.
One is a woman in her 60s who recently returned from a tour in Egypt. Part of that vacation involved taking a cruise on the Nile. Health officials said a "number of cases" related to Egyptian tours have also emerged in Ontario and Quebec, and they're working with the federal government to determine if there are any connections to the one in B.C.
The other two travellers are a man in his 40s who recently returned from Germany and a man in his 90s who was on the Grand Princess cruise that ended up quarantined in California. Both are in isolation at home.
Tuesday's announcement brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in the province up to 39, though four people have fully recovered and Henry said others are continuing to show improvement.
"We've also had some people released from hospital, including, I'm really pleased to say, the 80-year-old woman who was admitted to ICU at (Vancouver General Hospital)," she told reporters.
That patient, whose infection was announced last week, recently visited India and Hong Kong, and had been suffering severe symptoms that initially left her in critical condition.
Officials once again stressed the importance of regular hand-washing and particularly of staying away from work, school and social gatherings when sick.
"The transmission that we have right now is still very low," she added. "Most of our risk is really around travel and international travel, including travel to Washington state at this point."
The outbreak in Washington has now infected 267 people and claimed 24 lives, the majority of patients coming from King county.
On Tuesday, officials also announced the first case in Whatcom county, which borders British Columbia and includes the communities of Blaine and Bellingham. The patient is a woman in her 60s who was treated in hospital in Bellingham then released after her condition improved.