B.C. confirms three more COVID-19 cases, all linked to Iran, on March 3

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      As Washington state contends with a health emergency due to the novel coronavirus, British Columbia announced three new cases of COVID-19 this afternoon after one new case was already announced this morning.

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced today (March 3) that the three cases are linked to individuals who travelled to Iran.

      One is a man in his 60s, another is an adult woman in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, and the third is a woman in her 30s who lives in the home of a patient earlier identified as contracting the virus from Iran.

      All of these individuals are in self-isolation at their residences and their close contacts are being monitored.

      The total number of cases in B.C. is now at 12 while Ontario, which reported two new cases today, has 20. Canada now has 33 cases. All of the most recent cases in Canada have been linked to Iran and Egypt. 

      Canada raised the travel health risk alert for Iran to Level 3 (avoid non-essential travel) on February 29, increased Northern Italy to Level 3 on March 2, and also raised Japan and South Korea to Level 2 (while the South Korean cities of Daegu and Cheongdo are listed at Level 3).

      Dr. Henry advised frequent hand washing or using hand sanitizer, and to avoid greeting behavior such as hand-shaking, kissing, or hugging.

      She also advised individuals, including employers, to consider preparing if wider transmission develops, including working from home, staying at home if sick, or holding virtual meetings for work instead of traveling.

      As previously reported, Washington state also confirmed earlier today that there were three more deaths, which increased the total deaths in the state to nine.

      Information about COVID-19 is available at the B.C. Centre of Disease Control website.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook