B.C. plans for worst on COVID 19: Premier John Horgan

B.C. plans for worst on COVID 19: Premier John Horgan
B.C. Premier John Horgan outlines the province's COVID-19 plan in Vancouver on March 6, 2020.

A small outbreak of COVID-19 continues at a long-term care facility in North Vancouver as officials announced that two more health-care workers have tested positive for the virus.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, announced the infections among seven new cases Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 39.

In addition to the two health-care workers infected, three cases are related to travel and two are community cases because they had no known contact with another confirmed case.

“It is these community cases that give us some degree of concern and grief,” Henry told a news conference in Vancouver.

“But being able to detect them is really important, because as soon as we detect them, we can start that detailed investigation to determine where they might have come in contact and it helps us uncover where other chains of transmission are in our community.”

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The new cases bring the total linked to the Lynn Valley Care Centre to eight, including two family members or close contacts of a health-care worker.

The first health-care worker diagnosed at the seniors home was also the province’s first community case and Henry said she is in stable condition but has been admitted to hospital for monitoring.

Henry said a woman in her 80s who was recently admitted to an intensive care unit in critical condition with the virus has been released from hospital.

Premier John Horgan told the Surrey Board of Trade on Tuesday that the virus will affect the economy in the short-term.

“We have seen two of the worst forest fire seasons. On top of that we have what is now a pandemic and we have extraordinary challenges within the markets around the world,” he said.

“But planning and preparing is key to success.”

Public health institutions in the province are well placed to cope with the novel coronavirus having learned lessons from the SARS outbreak in 2003 and the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, he said.

With an open economy and a diverse population, Horgan said the number of cases of COVID-19 in the province is not surprising and is expected to grow.

Horgan credited Finance Minister Carole James with building “lots of prudence” into the budget in case contingencies are needed, adding that “forecasting is an inexact science on a good day but when you have the prospects of a pandemic its extremely difficult.”

Anita Huberman, chief executive officer of the Surrey Board of Trade, said the economic impact from COVID-19 is already being felt and small businesses have the greatest risk because they don’t have the resources available to their larger counterparts.

“We’re observing,” she added. “The worry is not severe. We’re just worried.”

Story by The Canadian Press


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