Three more coronavirus deaths in B.C. as province declares public health emergency

VANCOUVER—Three more people in B.C. have died from novel coronavirus as provincial health officials declared a public health emergency Tuesday and said they were experiencing a spike in cases.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed three more people had died Tuesday — two were from Lynn Valley Care Centre, the long-term care home where four people have already died.

“Tragically, we have three new deaths reported today. Two of them are associated with the ongoing outbreak at Lynn Valley Care Centre,” Henry said.

Six of the seven deaths in B.C. are linked to Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver. The other death is a man in his 80s in the Fraser Health region in the lower mainland.

Henry also said there are 83 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province, a marked increase from previous daily updates.

The announcement that B.C. has declared a public health emergency followed similar declarations from Alberta and Ontario earlier in the day.

There are now 186 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C., including outbreaks at Lynn Valley and Hollyburn House, another care home, as well as Lions Gate Hospital. All of those facilities are in North Vancouver.

There have been eight COVID-19 related deaths in Canada so far — seven in B.C. and one in Ontario.

The vast majority of people who have tested positive for the virus are recovering at home, in self-isolation. Henry said seven people in the province are currently receiving treatment in hospital.

She said the dramatic increase in cases announced today is partly due to the backlog of COVID-19 tests in B.C., where tests conducted several days ago are only now being analyzed.

“I do expect we will see increased numbers over the next few days as well,” she said.

“These were people who were identified, public health action was taken, it just wasn’t reflected in the public numbers.”

More to come.

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Wanyee Li
Wanyee Li is a Vancouver-based reporter covering courts and conservation issues for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @wanyeelii