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Coronavirus outbreak at North Vancouver care centre continues

5 new cases connected to Lynn Valley long-term care facility

The province has announced nine new cases of novel coronavirus in B.C., with the majority of cases related to the outbreak at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver.

There are now four residents and 12 staff members of the long-term care facility who have tested positive for COVID-19, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced during a press conference Saturday.

“Most of the cases today that we’re announcing are related to the outbreak at the Lynn Valley Care Centre,” said Henry, adding that Vancouver Coastal Health is continuing to monitor all staff and residents of the facility. “We know that there’s some ongoing testing of others who are starting to show symptoms as well.”

Five of the nine cases announced Saturday were connected to the outbreak at Lynn Valley Care Centre, and Henry said there may be more cases at the care centre that arise in the coming days. An update on the state of coronavirus around the province is expected Monday morning.

At Hollyburn House in West Vancouver there is currently one staff member and one resident who have tested positive for coronavirus, according to Henry, who said testing was ongoing.

(Previously the province had announced that two staff members at Hollyburn House had tested positive, but Henry clarified that it was actually only one staff member at Hollyburn. The other infected staff member was a part of the Lynn Valley care home.)

It was announced yesterday that three administrative staff members of Lions Gate Hospital had also tested positive for COVID-19. All three are self-isolating and recovering at home, and the number of infected at the hospital remains at three, according to Henry.

Henry noted that most people in the province do not require testing for the disease and stressed that resources were best rationed for people who actually needed it, adding that individuals with zero-to-mild symptoms who have returned from travel and were self-isolating were at low-risk of spreading the disease. They should only seek out health-care services if their sickness progresses, she said.

“The focus will be on ensuring that we will continue to test people in active investigations and cluster outbreaks because that’s how we determine how this virus is spreading in our community,” said Henry. “We need to focus our testing so that we’re able to ensure that those who need this test are able to get it.”

The first death from coronavirus in Canada occurred on March 8 when a man in his 80s, who had underlying health problems, died at Lynn Valley Care Centre.

Many events and facilities – from school trips to public recreation centres – across the North Shore and Metro Vancouver have either been cancelled or suspended service during the past week amid fears of coronavirus.

The province announced on Thursday that gatherings of more than 250 people should be avoided as the pandemic continues.

The province's three biggest universities – University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and University of Victoria – announced yesterday they were moving their classes online in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Capilano University in North Vancouver is currently reviewing plans in the event the institution has to find alternative ways to deliver courses and programs in the future. An update from the post-secondary school is expected Monday.

There are now 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 that originated on the North Shore. There are 73 confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout the province, it was announced Saturday.

Editor’s note: The latest information on coronavirus disease is available on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and Vancouver Coastal Health websites. Detailed information including travel advice is on the federal government’s website. If you have questions and concerns about COVID-19, please get your information from a trusted source. Spreading rumours and misinformation on social media or in conversation could impact lives.