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

Fairfield gas station fire deemed arson

Police looking for witnesses, video of 2:30 a.m. April 5 fire

Sidney senior grateful for stranger’s help during medical incident

Hendrina Welter never caught a glimpse of the woman who helped her after she blacked out

Outreach initiative connects Sooke seniors to support amid COVID-19

Volunteers encouraged to sign up as need increases

Victoria company compares drone footage of city streets between August and now

Fewer cars, people seen on streets and at landmarks

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Most Read