The first death in Canada related to COVID-19 has been reported from a North Vancouver long-term care home.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, said a man living in the Lynn Valley care centre, which had been reported as a hotspot for the virus, has died. Two other residents of the North Vancouver long-term care home have tested as positive for the illness.
Henry advises people to use caution around long-term care homes.
“Residents who live there need interaction with their family, but right now we want people to be really careful,” said Henry. “All long-term care homes should be making sure that they know what to do and have plans in place. They’ll be working with the health authorities, I know they’re doing that already.”
Henry offered advice as to what the public should do when visiting loved ones in long-term care to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other illnesses to a vulnerable population.
“We want to have enhanced screening for visitors coming in and out of long-term care, so if you are going to visit someone, don’t go as a large group, go one by one, only go to visit the person that you’re there to see. If you have any concerns about respiratory illnesses, stay away,” explained Dr. Henry. “If you need to be with somebody and you’re not feeling well, let the home know ahead of time so you’re given a mask and appropriate things so nobody else in the home is put at risk.”
Henry added that enhanced sanitation is an important measure to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
“It’s what we call an envelope virus, so it is easily cleaned with regular household cleaning products or a one and 10 bleach solution,” said Henry. “But even if it’s on surfaces, that’s not how we get infected, we get infected by inoculating ourselves. If you’re on the bus and you’re touching things that might have been contaminated, you need to clean your hands and be very careful and vigilant about not touching your face and eyes.”
As of Monday, March 9th, this is the only death reported in Canada related to COVID-19, with 32 confirmed cases in B.C.