British Columbia health officials announced 145 more COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the province’s total number to 617.
During Tuesday’s BC health update, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry noted that 67 new cases occurred on March 23 and 78 cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours.
Fifty-nine people are in the hospital, 23 are in ICU, and 173 have recovered. BC’s total deaths remain at 13.
Two additional care homes involved in outbreaks
On Tuesday, Henry announced two additional care homes in the province currently dealing with the outbreak — Little Mountain Place Residential Care, located in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, and Evergreen Heights, located in the Fraser Health region. Both care homes have a single person who tested positive.
As for existing cases, the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver now has 42 residents that are infected with the coronavirus as well as 21 staff. There have been a total of 10 reported deaths at that care home.
There has also been an increase of cases at downtown Vancouver’s Haro Park Centre, with 15 residents and 25 staff members testing positive.
Other care homes dealing with coronavirus infections include Hollyburn House Retirement Residence in West Vancouver, the German Canadian Care Home in Vancouver, the Dufferin Care Centre in Coquitlam, and at Delta View Habilitation Centre.
No further information about dentist’s death
Henry spoke further about the North Vancouver dentist who died from coronavirus.
On Monday, a source confirmed with Daily Hive that Dr. Denis Vincent had passed away.
“That person was known to public health and was associated with the Pacific Dental Conference,” said Henry.
“The public health investigation had been done so any contacts of that person – any close contacts – were identified and were put into isolation, and anybody who was at risk from exposure to this individual was identified. It is tragic that he passed away and I understand the coroner is investigating, and we do not have any more information at the moment about his death,” she said.
The 2020 Pacific Dental Conference took place at Vancouver Convention Centre from March 5 to 7.
Following the conference, Dr. Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix announced that a “significant number” of new cases in BC were linked to the event, and the College of Dental Surgeons of BC (CDSBC) asked anyone who attended to immediately self-isolate.
Henry said the conference is a “major source” of coronavirus infections in BC. “There are now 32 people that we can link directly or indirectly to that conference.”
Almost 30,000 tests conducted in BC
Henry said BC’s testing strategy has been informed by “looking at what is happening around the world” and “being nimble in our response.”
“To be clear, we are absolutely testing and contact tracing anybody for whom we don’t know the source of their infection, and that’s the important thing,” she said.
For individuals who travelled outside the country and returned, the source of infection is known, added Henry.
“Since we put that order that everyone who has travelled outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days, if they do become sick, we know the source of their infection and we don’t need to have them go out of their house to go someplace to be tested, maybe exposing other people,” she said. “We assume that they have this disease and we manage them accordingly, and we make sure that they don’t have contacts and pass it on to others.”
This process allows health authorities to focus on community cases, where the source of infection is not known.
Nearly 30,000 tests have been conducted in BC, and Henry says the backlog of testing has now been cleared up.
“But now this allows us to widely test anybody for whom we don’t have an idea where they came in contact with this. So that’s community cases that are involved with a cluster or outbreak,” stated Henry.
“It also means that we can aggressively test healthcare workers in our health system as well as the long-term care residents … so that we can manage outbreaks and protect our healthcare system.”
Henry and Dix will update the public again on new cases on Wednesday at 3 pm.