With the situation surrounding COVID-19 becoming more fluid and more difficult to track, here is a summary of the biggest developments in the global coronavirus outbreak as they relate to Vancouver Island:
Upcoming press conferences scheduled by Ministry of Health at 3:30 p.m. PST
A press conference has been scheduled by the province’s Ministry of Health for 3:30 p.m. PST. In the past three days, Dr. Bonnie Henry has taken the stand to announce five new cases reported in British Columbia.
British Columbia still at ‘low risk’ of outbreak
Henry has said the risk of COVID-19 remains low in British Columbia despite the new cases. Outside of one woman in her 80’s who is currently in critical condition from the disease, the 12 other cases are showing positive signs of overcoming the deadly disease. Four have already fully recovered, three no longer have symptoms but remain in isolation, while the remainder are considered stable and don’t need hospitalization.
National cases reach 34 individuals
Currently the number of confirmed cases in Canada has reached 34 total. The largest number is in Ontario as the province’s total has hit 20. Here in British Columbia, we sit at 13 and Quebec has announced one confirmed case.
Two Vancouver post secondary schools close presumptively
University Canada West and The Visual College of Art and Design, located in the same building in downtown Vancouver, have closed for a deep clean of campus. According to University Canada West, the closure is due to a presumptive case of COVID-19 , saying they are confident that we have managed to contain the student who was potentially affected and that the clean is a precautionary measure. The school will hold a press conference at the campus located on West Pender at 2 pm this afternoon.
Supplies of surgical masks, gloves for B.C.’s seniors care providers drying up
A press release from the BC Care Providers Association is urging members of the public to refrain from making unnecessary purchases or hoarding medical supplies upon receiving reports from their members regarding critical shortages of these supplies as high public demand is limiting supplies for those who are caring for the frail and vulnerable seniors population.
Washington State cases rise sharply Thursday
The state closest to Vancouver Island has seen a major spike in confirmed cases, rising from 46 to 74 on Thursday. It is also the state that has been hit the hardest as far as deaths in the US go. King County, where Seattle is located, has 51 cases; Snohomish County has 18; and Grant County has one.
Washington has now seen 10 deaths from the virus, while the rest of US has had just one, bringing the country’s death toll to 11. As of now, British Columbians returning to Canada from Washington, however, are not required to get tested at this time.
It is important to note that four of the cases in the state were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan.
California declares state of emergency
California has now joined Washington in declaring the outbreak a ‘state of emergency,’ after a confirmed death near Sacramento. The state also screened an incoming cruise ship that was travelling to San Francisco from Hawaii carrying 2,500 passengers. Two cases, including the death, are thought to be linked to the ship. The Grand Princess remains quarantined outside of the San Francisco port.
Globally the virus has infected more than 97,000 people and the death toll has risen above 3,300.