Premier John Horgan, centre, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, left, and Health Minister Adrian Dix take part in a conference call with B.C. faith leaders about COVID-19 in Victoria on Wednesday March 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner

Premier John Horgan, centre, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, left, and Health Minister Adrian Dix take part in a conference call with B.C. faith leaders about COVID-19 in Victoria on Wednesday March 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner

Two COVID-19 patients now in self-isolation at home in Northern Health

Total number of cases up to 73 in B.C.

B.C. has a total of 73 confirmed COVID-19 cases, as of Saturday, including two people who are now recovering at their home within the Northern Health region.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced nine new cases during her Saturday briefing.

This includes seven people within the Vancouver Coastal Health authority, one within Fraser Health and one presumptive case in Interior Health.

Two of the confirmed cases previously announced as being linked to the Vancouver Coastal Health authority are actually residents within the Northern Health Authority, B.C. health officials have confirmed. They had travelled overseas, landing in the Lower Mainland where they were screened and tested positive, Henry said, adding their conditions were mild. Since then, they have driven home where they remain in self-isolation.

This means that every health authority has at least one confirmed COVID-19 case.

READ MORE: Return home while you can, Ottawa tells Canadians travelling abroad

Most of Saturday’s new confirmed cases are linked to an outbreak at a North Vancouver care home. Henry said she suspects there may be more confirmed cases in the coming days.

B.C.’s top doctor also tried to tide concerns that people who feel under the weather – including those who have travelled overseas – don’t necessarily need to be tested for the novel coronavirus.

“Even if you have mild symptoms, or if you have no symptoms and you have returned from travel, you don’t need testing,” Henry said. “We want to make sure that people with no symptoms understand they don’t need to be tested for COVID-19.”

She added that testing protocols will be focused on health care staff, those in long-term care homes and those linked to the existing outbreaks in North Vancouver. People who show serious symptoms, which include lung infections and extreme coughing, will also be tested after calling HealthLink BC at 811.

The province has tested more than 6,000 people, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, with 4,000 of those tests in the last few days. As people await their lab results, which can take two or more days, they are told to self-isolate. Those who travel outside of Canada, including to the U.S., will be asked to stay away from work, school and other public places for 14 days upon their return.

As of Saturday, there were 73 confirmed cases of which six have recovered, two are in hospital and one – a man in his 80s with a number of underlying health issues – has died. The rest are under quarantine where they will remain until they produce two negative tests within 24 hours.

Two of the confirmed cases previously announced as being linked to the Vancouver Coastal Health authority are actually residents within the Northern Health Authority. They had travelled overseas, landing in the Lower Mainland where they were screened and tested positive, Henry said, adding their conditions were mild. Since then, they have driven home where they remain in self-isolation.

This means that every health authority has at least one confirmed COVID-19 case.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said that testing centres will be opening across the province, but the exact locations will be announced by individual health authorities in the coming days.

“When these centres are open, they’re not for people to go to,” said Dix, asking that people not flock to these locations unnecessarily.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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