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

Second presumptive case of COVID-19 in Interior Health

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

Interior Health has its second presumptive case of COVID-19.

This comes as provincial health authority announced nine new cases of the novel coronavirus across B.C. on Saturday, bringing the total to 73.

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

A majority of the other new cases are related to an outbreak at a North Vancouver care home, as well as one case within the Fraser Health Authority.

B.C.’s top doctor said during the Saturday briefing that she suspects there may be more confirmed cases in the coming days linked to cluster at the care home within the Vancouver Coastal Health.

Henry 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,” she told reporters during a Saturday news briefing. “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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