Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam participates in a press conference following the announcement by the Government of Ontario of the first presumptive confirmed case of a novel coronavirus in Canada, in Ottawa, on January 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Canadian health officials stress COVID-19 risk remains low as case load rises

The number of confirmed and presumptive cases stood at 54 Friday

With a slowly, but steadily rising number of COVID-19 cases in Canada, health officials continue to stress that the risk posed by the novel coronavirus in this country remains low.

The number of confirmed and presumptive cases stood at 57 Friday, the vast majority being reported in Ontario, with 28, and British Columbia with 27.

All of Ontario’s known patients had recently travelled outside the country or were in close contact with other patients who had, however, Canada’s first apparent case of community transmission was reported in B.C. this week.

A Vancouver-area woman was diagnosed with COVID-19, even though she hadn’t travelled recently and had no known contact with anyone else diagnosed with the virus. The province is also dealing with a care home outbreak in North Vancouver.

Quebec has two confirmed cases and one presumptive diagnosis that still has to be confirmed, while Alberta has reported two presumptive cases.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam noted Friday that most of the cases in Canada have been mild, and the patients are self isolating at home. About seven people are in hospital, but she said that doesn’t necessarily mean they are severely ill, adding that Canada is well equipped to deal with the outbreak.

“We’ve been having these plans, we’ve rehearsed them, we’ve been through a previous pandemic, we’ve been through co-ordination for Ebola response, for example. So each individual player in the federal and provincial system knows how those co-ordination mechanisms work,” Tam told a news conference.

Ottawa is increasing its funding for COVID-19 research by $20 million, Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced Friday, after concluding that the $7 million it had planned to spend isn’t enough.

Meanwhile, the B.C. government has announced it’s activating the province’s pandemic plan to deal with COVID-19, and is ready to use emergency powers to protect the population, health workers, and the health system’s capacity to help patients with other problems.

Around the country efforts to sanitize venues wherever people gather in close quarters, such as planes, trains, subways and stadiums, are being given a high priority.

Outside Canada’s borders, cruise ships remain a tricky problem.

Three of Canada’s 54 confirmed or presumptive cases of the virus are among passengers who were aboard the Grand Princess from Feb. 11 to 21 during a cruise that began and ended in San Francisco.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has since been trying to locate more than 260 Canadians who were on that cruise.

And another 237 Canadians have been forbidden from leaving the ship during a subsequent cruise, as they and the rest of the passengers and crew undergo testing for COVID-19.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CanadaCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Honda driver may be key witness to Langley crash: RCMP

Police are hoping to find the driver of what appears to be a grey Honda Civic

Cloverdale automobile shop offers to pick up, service, and drop off vehicles

Surrey’s Visscher-Pau Automotive starts ‘Blue Glove’ valet service, will cover Cloverdale, Langley, Newton, Fleetwood, and Hazelmere

Outbreak puts Langley woman’s kidney transplant on hold

It’s unknown when she’ll be able to receive a new kidney

VIDEO: Police watchdog recommends charges against off-duty officer involved in Langley crash

An off-duty officer was involved in a Langley crash last year that sent a motorcyclist to hospital

As 240K apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

Easter Bunny not a COVID-19 carrier, allowed to do drop offs

World Health Organization grants permission to Bunny as he cannot transfer the virus

Most Read