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

Sooke fitness facilities reopen to the public

Extra measures set in place to ensure user safety

Racism is here too, say Victoria’s black community leaders

White Victorians have role to play in combatting systems of oppression, prejudice

Shortage of foreign workers costs Saanich Peninsula berry farmer thousands

Gobind Farms says hiring local has been difficult during pandemic

Pedestrian, cycling overpass now open at McKenzie Interchange

Bridge connects Portage Road, Galloping Goose Regional Trail

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Most Read