A member of the Comox Valley Waldorf School has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a statement obtained by the Comox Valley Record, Island Health has confirmed the positive test.
“This individual is in isolation at home, doing well and being monitored daily by public health,” Medical Health Officer Charmaine Enns states in a letter dated March 15.
She added that individuals from the school who have been in contact with this member while at school are receiving daily follow-up by public health, and have been advised to self-isolate.
“The purpose of advising you of this information is to ensure that you are aware of this development,” the statement read. “The identification of this case of COVID 19 is the result of specific public health follow up and does not represent community transmission.”
A spokesperson for Waldorf School confirmed the positive test, but could not divulge details of the patient – whether it was a student, or staff member – for privacy purposes.
Provincial health officials announced Tuesday that 83 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified, bringing the total number of cases to 186 in B.C. Twelve of those are in Vancouver Island. Officials have not specified which areas of the Island.
Six people in B.C. are in acute care, and five have fully recovered.
At a Monday press conference in Victoria, Health Minister Adrian Dix said four British Columbians had passed away from the disease. All four were residents at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver.
On Tuesday, Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced three more deaths due to COVID-19.
“Two of them are associated with the ongoing outbreak at the Lynn Valley Care Centre, and one is a gentleman in his 80s in Fraser Health who passed away in hospital yesterday,” Henry told media Tuesday.
Of seven people hospitalized in B.C. due to COVID-19, she said four are in intensive care units.
“The vast majority of the cases we have are people who are being managed in isolation at home,” said Henry, adding five cases have recovered. Others with mild symptoms have not met the criteria to be considered fully recovered.
At least four cases of COVID-19 are related to a large dental conference held in Vancouver March 6 and 7.
“That is very concerning to me,” said Henry, who advises anyone at the conference to self-isolate immediately. “This is the critical time where we’re starting to see people turning up with illness related to this conference.”
She also said it is critical for travellers arriving from outside Canada to self isolate for 14 days.
“This is incredibly important for us. The vast majority of our cases have been imported cases,” Henry said. “We can’t do anything if somebody has already been exposed to this virus…The good news is that most people that we are seeing who have been travelling internationally have relatively mild disease, and are staying in isolation at home, and are being able to manage their disease at home.”
An order to cancel gatherings has dropped from 250 to 50 or more people. She credits businesses, organizations and municipalities for shutting down operations. Casinos have also shut down.
“This is going to be really important for us for the coming weeks,” Henry said.
Another measure is to cancel scheduled surgeries “across the board,” and to preserve urgent and emergent care in hospitals.
Dix said government will compensate physicians for providing virtual care services.
“I’m asking everybody in B.C. to do our part, to support each other as we get through this crisis in the next few weeks,” Henry said.
The Province has created a dedicated phone service at 1-888-covid19 or text 604-630-0300 to support people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.