BC confirms 7 new COVID-19 cases, bringing province's total to 46

British Columbia health officials are now recommending people avoid all global travel in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Henry also updated the public on the provincial recommendation that people returning from overseas stay home from school or work for 14 days.

For the second straight day, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed seven new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 46 in BC.

"We want to make sure the federal government expands these programs to the greatest extent possible", he said.

Five more cases are related to travel from other countries, which the province warned against on Wednesday. They also include two cases linked to the Hollyburn House long-term care facility in West Vancouver. "Go out and experience what we have here in British Columbia right now".

Another of the 11 new cases is a close contact of a previously-diagnosed Lynn Valley Care Centre health care worker, while two of Friday's new cases are under investigation, said Henry.

Dix says details regarding the set up of testing clinics and operations are coming later this week.

First United State coronavirus death confirmed in King County
The CDC said in a statement that the patient has tested positive for the virus and is considered a presumptive positive case. State and King County health officials said "new people (have been) identified with the infection, one of whom died".

Henry said the volume of testing has gone up in a short period of time, putting pressure on some labs.

All of the new cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, said Henry. "I'm calling on everyone in B.C.to do that work with us".

She believes the outbreak was caught in its initial stages, and more cases are becoming apparent as people with the virus transition from their incubation phase to showing symptoms.

Henry also offered reassurance that it's safe to go to shopping and to restaurants.

The total number of cases in B.C. reached 73 Saturday with more cases announced in Ontario and Quebec. "There are a lot of things we can do outdoors which are very safe things to do", she said. Officials are still working to determine where and how he contracted the virus.

That said, both Dix and Henry emphasized that the tests are not necessarily valid for someone who is not sick, that not everyone who comes back from travelling and gets sick needs a test, and that employers should not request physician notes for people to come back to work. They should only seek out health-care services if their sickness progresses, she said.

"We are directing all event organizers in British Columbia that they will be required to cancel any gathering larger than 250 people", Henry said. It's most important to test people who are in hospital or long term care homes, health care workers, or people connected to ongoing outbreaks.

  • Ismael Montgomery