COVID-19 in Canada: North Vancouver resident is nation's first coronavirus death, B.C. cruise ship season questioned

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      Canada has reported its first death from COVID-19.

      The announcement was made during an update from B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix today (March 9).

      The individual, a male resident of the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver who had underlying health conditions, died late on March 8. Two residents at the long-term care facility had been confirmed with the coronavirus on March 7, along with a previously diagnosed staff member. 

      B.C. also confirmed five new cases today. Two of the cases—a male teenager and a man in his 50s—were in contact with the healthcare worker at the North Vancouver care facility who tested positive. A third case is a healthcare worker in her 40s who worked at the Lynn Valley centre as well. All three cases live in the Fraser Valley health region. Two other cases—a woman in her 50s who returned from Iran and a man in his 30s who travelled to Italy—are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. 

      B.C. now has 32 cases of the virus, in addition to seven in Alberta, 34 in Ontario, and four in Quebec. Canada now has over 70 cases. Meanwhile, the number of cases in the USA have increased to over 600.

      Dr. Bonnie Henry is also asking for the cruise ship season in B.C. to be delayed. She stated that discussions will be ongoing with various levels of government and that an announcement will be made regarding this issue within a few days.

      Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam stated at a news conference today that the Public Health Agency of Canada is asking Canadians to avoid cruise ship travel, due to the close quarters being conducive to the fast spread of the virus.

      On March 6, Dr. Henry and the B.C. government unveiled its pandemic plan. 

      Italy (approximately 9,200 cases) has surpassed South Korea (approximately 7,500 cases) as the location outside mainland China with highest number of cases. Northern Italy was placed under quarantine on March 8. 

      Iran has about 7,200 cases while France and Germany each have approximately 1,200 cases.

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