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B.C. coronavirus cases climb to 21

Half of the newest cases, however, are not connected to any previous cases of COVID-19
Eight new cases of coronavirus have been identified in B.C. as of Thu. March 5, 2020. File photo

There are eight new cases of coronavirus in B.C.

Dr. Bonnie Henry broke the news Thursday afternoon, which brings the total number of confirmed cases of the virus to 21 in the province.

The first four of the new cases are household contacts of a case revealed last week. All of them “developed symptoms while in isolation” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s top medical health officer.

They are in their 20s, 30s, 50s and 60s respectively and all live in the Fraser Health Region.

The other four news cases, added Henry, are not connected to any previous cases of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Two of them are from the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) region and had just returned from Iran. They are in their 50s and 60s and live in the same house.

The seventh new case is a resident from Seattle who was visiting family in Fraser Health Region.

“We’re trying to determine where her exposure came from,” said Henry.

The last new case is the one that’s concerning Henry and her medical team the most, as it comes from a “community transmission,” meaning it wasn’t due to travel and they can’t find the source.

“This was picked up while the person was being tested for the flu,” she said.

“There is a detailed investigation. This person hadn’t recently travelled so that is something we’re paying attention to.”

The last new case lives in the VCH region.

Asked at Thursday's media conference, why the community transmitted case was concerning health officials so much, Henry said it's because they haven't been able to trace the source, as of yet.

"She hasn't travelled. Where did she pick it up? It's likely at least one other person is out there who has (COVID-19) and we need to track them down."

The last new case lives in the VCH region, which includes Richmond.

All of the new cases are in self-isolation at home.

Asked if she had any more advice for anyone thinking of travelling during spring break, Henry urged people to check the Canadian government's website.

"People should understand the risk and know your own tolerance (for getting sick or being quarantined)," she added.

"I would have a low tolerance for lots of international travel (just now)."

B.C. announced on Wednesday its 13th case of coronavirus (COVID-19) was a woman in her 80s, who is in critical condition.

The woman recently returned after a tour of India and Hong Kong and is in isolation in the intensive care unit at Vancouver General Hospital.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s top medical health officer, said the woman is a resident of the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) region, which includes Richmond.

"She has severe illness and is isolation at (VGH)," said Henry on Wednesday afternoon.

The woman, added Henry, also has underlying health conditions.

Henry said the woman arrived home in the VCH region the middle of last week, and anyone in close contact with her is in self-isolation for 14 days and will be monitored for symptoms.

"She was not ill during travel. There is only one close contact and they both stayed pretty close to home (on their return)," said Henry.

On Tuesday, there were four new cases of coronavirus in B.C., taking the total that day to 12.

By Thursday afternoon, 98,078 around the world have been confirmed, at some point, as having coronavirus (COVID-19).

The virus has caused 3,356 deaths, mostly in China, where the disease originated late last year.

Of all of those confirmed cases, 54,140 people have recovered.

As well as China, several countries are giving the World Health Organization (WHO) cause for concern, including South Korea and Iran, where the virus appears to be spreading the fastest.

More to come...


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