First coronavirus death in Canada announced; 32 confirmed cases in B.C.
VICTORIA -- British Columbia has recorded Canada's first death from the novel coronavirus, provincial health authorities announced Monday.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced five new cases of the virus on the B.C. mainland, bringing the provincial total to 32 confirmed cases.
One of the new cases was imported from Iran by a woman in her 50s and the other was imported from Italy by a man in his 30s, Henry said. Both patients have been isolated at home in the Vancouver area.
The first Canadian to die of the virus, also known as COVID-19, was in his 80s and lived at a care home in North Vancouver.
His case was announced on Saturday and he died on Sunday night, Henry said at a news conference in Victoria Monday morning.
"We are deeply saddened to hear that one of the residents of the Lynn Valley care home who was infected with COVID-19 passed away last night," Henry said.
"Our heart-felt condolences go out to his family and loved ones."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered his own condolences to the man's family, saying he wants to assure Canadians that the top medical scientists are working on the issue.
Trudeau said the federal government will do everything to keep Canadians safe and encouraged people to look at Health Canada websites to keep up-to-date on how to keep their families safe.
Canada's top public health doctor recommended Canadians avoid travelling on cruise ships to protect against the spread of coronavirus.
Dr. Theresa Tam previously advised Canadians to think twice about cruises but toughened her stance in a Monday morning news conference in Ottawa.
Henry also addressed the cruise ship issue at the B.C. legislature.
"We are very aware that the cruise ship season is coming up here in Victoria," Henry said.
"My personal belief right now is we are in a very critical time around the world and it is my belief that we should be delaying our cruise season."
So far there are no cases of coronavirus confirmed on Vancouver Island.