B.C. health officials are on alert after six coronavirus-related deaths have been reported just across the border in the U.S. state of Washington. Canada's neighbours down south have already seen over 100 coronavirus cases so far, and both countries have imposed travel restrictions amidst the outbreak. The coronavirus in BC has infected eight patients already, although four of them have recovered and are out of isolation.
As per Global News, a state of emergency has been declared in the U.S. state of Washington, where six people in the past week have died as a result of coronavirus.
These six deaths make up all the coronavirus-related deaths that have happened in the U.S. so far.
With Vancouver Metro being so close to the U.S. Border, B.C. Health Officials have ramped up their efforts in providing assistance to border security.
In a joint press statement given by Adrian Dix, the Minister of Health, and Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, the two express their condolences for the deaths that have occurred in Washington.
They also maintain that the "risk of COVID-19 spreading within British Columbia remains low at this time."
However, they are conducting widespread testing across the province for both residents and incoming travellers as a percaution.
They also added, "Quarantine officers are always available to support the Canadian Border Services Agency's screening conducted at land entries and airports."
After it was revealed that one of B.C.'s most recent coronavirus patients was a woman returning from Iran, where an outbreak has developed, B.C. health officials are also urging incoming travellers from Iran to self-isolate themselves for 14 days.
The same is true for anyone coming in from China, which remains the country with the highest number of recorded cases.
Worldometers is constantly updating the number of coronavirus cases and deaths across the world, and the latest reading says that 80,152 cases have been confirmed in China, with 2945 deaths reported so far.
The deaths in Washington, however, are mostly linked to an outbreak that developed in a nursing home, according to The Guardian.
Four of the six deaths in the state were patients from the nursing home in question.
48 schools in Washington have been closed, so that their premises can be cleaned to prevent the spread of the virus.
Global News reported that because of the concentrated nature of the outbreak in Washington, there isn't a formal procedure in place for incoming travellers from Washington, as there is for travellers from Iran and China.
There currently isn't a widespread outbreak in Washington, and there isn't one in B.C., either.
However, Dr. Henry and Adrian Dix, in their press statement, urged anyone landing in B.C. from non-Canadian destinations to "monitor themselves and their children closely for symptoms, and if any arise, to limit their contact with others and call 811."
Dix and Henry also added that there is no need to "stockpile supplies."
Recently, residents in B.C. have been cleaning out their local stores for preperation supplies due to heightened fears of the novel coronavirus.