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What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. on March 11, 2020 –



The latest:

​​​​​​What you need to know today

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced seven new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. That includes two more patients believed to have contracted the disease through community transmission — they don’t have a recent history of travel and haven’t had any contact with known infected people.

The new cases also include two health-care workers at Lynn Valley Care Centre, which has experienced an outbreak of novel coronavirus. The remaining three cases have been traced to travel overseas.

B.C. has now identified a total 39 COVID-19 patients, including one elderly man who has died.

Meanwhile, officials are bracing for the impact on B.C.’s health-care system and economy as the virus continues to spread. 

Important reminders:

B.C.’s top doctor, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said the risk of contracting coronavirus in B.C. communities remains low.

Health officials widely agree the most important thing you can do to prevent coronavirus and other illnesses is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. 

The World Health Organization said more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 infections are estimated to be mild.

What’s happening elsewhere in Canada

In Canada, public health officials have reported a total of 94 cases. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada, which has been assessing risk as the global outbreak progresses, has said the risk is low in Canada.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said on Twitter that “people over 65 years of age and people with a weakened immune system or underlying medical condition are at a higher risk of developing severe disease.” She advised that those more vulnerable people should avoid cruise ships, international conferences and other large indoor gatherings.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Stay home. Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
  • Keep your distance from people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Unless you’re already infected, masks won’t help you.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government’s website.

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2 B.C. long-term care homes get extra help to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks –



Specialized health teams have been sent to fight COVID-19 outbreaks at two Metro Vancouver long-term care homes.

The Fraser Health Authority appointed a pandemic response director on Thursday at Langley Lodge, where more than 20 people have died from the virus in recent weeks.

It also sent extra staff to Nicola Lodge in Port Coquitlam after one resident tested positive Wednesday for COVID-19, said Dr. Martin Lavoie, Fraser Health’s chief medical health officer. The resident was placed in isolation at the lodge, he said.

“Over the past several weeks, we’ve been supporting and offering guidance to Langley Lodge in different ways,” Lavoie said at a news conference.

“Today, we’re taking further action and we have appointed our own director of pandemic response to provide oversight of the COVID-19 response at Langley Lodge and also to further support the facility leadership and staff.”

Dr. Martin Lavoie, Fraser Health’s chief medical health officer, said the COVID-19 outbreak at Langley Lodge has been difficult to control. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The lodge website says it is a not-for-profit registered charity run by the Langley Care Society.

It says the lodge in Langley provides long-term care for adults who can no longer live safely or independently at home because of their health-care needs. The lodge includes 121 funded spaces and 14 private pay spaces.

An official at the lodge referred questions about the COVID-19 outbreak to Fraser Health on Thursday.

Lavoie said the COVID-19 outbreak at the lodge has been difficult to control.

“It is our hope that these additional measures will support the site in controlling this complex outbreak,” he said. “We’re taking all the necessary steps to minimize the exposure to and transmission of COVID-19.”

Lavoie said extra nurses and staff are being called in, along with infection control specialists who will use a specialized ultraviolet germ sterilization machine.

As of Wednesday, the Health Ministry said 111 people who have died from COVID-19 in the province were connected to long-term care facilities, assisted-living homes or acute-care hospitals. A total of 162 people have died from the virus.

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Research on new cat virus discovered at B.C. SPCA published in scientific journal –



The outbreak of a fast-spreading disease at the SPCA’s animal centre in Vancouver has led to the discovery of a new feline virus that affected 43 cats in B.C.

It started when eight cats fell ill on a single day in 2018 with symptoms like a human stomach flu, but Dr. Emilia Gordon, the senior manager of animal health, says they became concerned when tests came back negative for parasites.

Gordon says in a news release they knew within days that they were dealing with a virus or bacteria they hadn’t faced before.

Outbreak tracing found two cats in the Quesnel shelter introduced the illness to Vancouver’s facility, where it spread rapidly before being detected.

The exterior the B.C. SPCA’s Vancouver location, as seen in 2019. A research team from the University of California San Francisco found a new virus in some cats in the SPCA’s care. (Google Streetview)

A research team at the University of California San Francisco found the new species of parvovirus, which isn’t related to COVID-19, and those findings were recently published in the science journal Viruses.

Gordon says the high rate of recovery was due to a quick response and stringent control measures, although two of the 43 cats that were ill were euthanized because of other medical problems.

“As soon as we understood we were dealing with something unusual, our first goal was to stop the outbreak so more cats wouldn’t get sick,” Gordon says. “Our second goal was to try to get answers for our teams, for the cats, and for other shelters and veterinarians facing unexplained gastrointestinal outbreaks in cats under their care.”

She says being part of the discovery of the new virus was very exciting, however data from a single outbreak isn’t enough to be certain the virus can cause disease and more research will need to be done.

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Director appointed to oversee COVID-19 response at B.C. long-term care home after 22 deaths –



Public health officials are bringing in more help at the Lower Mainland care home that’s become the site of B.C.’s worst outbreak of COVID-19.

Twenty-two people at the Langley Lodge have died from the virus so far, while 22 residents who were infected have recovered. Ten staff members have also been infected.

Fraser Health announced Thursday it is appointing a director to oversee the pandemic response at the facility and deploying its ultraviolet germicidal irradiation machine, along with infection-control specialists. The machine emits concentrated UV light to disinfect hot spots and kill pathogens such as C. difficile and the novel coronavirus.

Germ-killing robots help fight COVID-19 at B.C. hospital

Germ-killing robots help fight COVID-19 at B.C. hospital

“We know this outbreak has been complex and challenging and has been lasting now for a few weeks,” said chief medical health officer Dr. Martin Lavoie.

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“This is an outbreak that has been taking a toll on staff. It’s also challenging for the site leadership as well.”

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Additional cleaning staff will also be brought in.

Strategy to contain ongoing coronavirus outbreak at Langley Lodge care home

The outbreak started on a behavioural stabilization unit, Lavoie said, where residents don’t always understand or follow safety measures.

The outbreak at the lodge was declared over in late April. But days later, a new one, which originated with a staff member, was confirmed at the 139-bed facility.

Meanwhile, a resident at the Nicola Lodge care home in Port Coquitlam has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Lavoie said. The person is now in isolation as enhanced infection-control measures are brought in.

It is not yet known how the virus got into the facility, he said.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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