While a fourth case of COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus) was confirmed in Ontario, a seventh case has been reported in B.C.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stated at a B.C. government news conference today (February 24) that a seventh case of the virus was confirmed in a man in his 40s in the Fraser Health Region who was in close contact to the sixth case, a female patient in her 30s who was confirmed positive on February 20.
She had traveled from Iran (where the number of cases has increased to 61) to Montreal, and then to Vancouver (she had not visited China).
Both individuals have gone into self-isolation and are recovering at home.
Fraser Health issued a letter on February 21 to School Districts 42 and 43 (which serve Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore, and Belcarra) as contacts of the sixth case may have attended school without any signs or symptoms of illness but have since been isolated.
"There is no public health risk at schools in the region," the letter states. "There is also no evidence that novel coronavirus is circulating in the community."
As the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is officially authorized for COVID-19 testing by the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg, samples are no longer required to be sent to the NML for further confirmation.
Four individuals who tested positive remain in self-isolation and under care from public-health teams.
The first patient diagnosed with the virus in B.C. was announced on February 19 as having since recovered.
As of February 21, B.C. has tested 677 individuals and 966 samples. The B.C. health ministry continues to state that the risk for the virus spreading in virus remains low.
On February 23, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams confirmed a new presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Toronto.
The patient is an adult woman who arrived in Canada from China on February 21 and went to North York General Hospital’s emergency department with a cough that was improving (she had been wearing a mask on her travel back to Toronto and has had limited exposure to others).
She was treated and tested while in isolation, and went home with mild illness in self-isolation.
Her lab test for COVID-19 was confirmed as positive on February 23 and has been sent to the NML for confirmation. The province is contacting passengers who were in proximity to her on her flight.
Ontario’s first three cases have all recovered.
In total, Canada has had 11 cases, four recoveries, and no deaths.
Worldwide, there are approximately 79,700 cases with about 25,300 recoveries and 2,600 deaths.
The number of cases in South Korea surged to 833 while Italy has shot up to 223 cases. The United States has 22 cases.
Meanwhile, several Middle Eastern countries reported their first cases, including Kuwait (three cases), Oman (two), Bahrain (one), Afghanistan (one), and Iraq (one).
More information about COVID-19 is available at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website.