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Coronavirus: Government of British Columbia announces 7 cases in Interior Health region

Click to play video: 'B.C. health officials report 83 new cases of coronavirus, 3 new deaths'
B.C. health officials report 83 new cases of coronavirus, 3 new deaths
WATCH: British Columbia has declared a public health emergency, as officials announce 83 new cases of the novel coronavirus and three new deaths on Tuesday. The province now has a recorded total of 186 cases and seven COVID-19 deaths – Mar 17, 2020

There are seven cases of the novel coronavirus in the Interior Health region, the provincial government said on Tuesday while announcing a public health emergency.

In a daily meeting with media discussing the pandemic, the government said B.C. now has 186 cases of coronavirus, including 83 new cases.

The government also announced three new deaths because of coronavirus.

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“This is something, as you know, that we’ve had in our tool belt for some time,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, referring to B.C. declaring the public health emergency.

“I felt that this was the tool we need now. We’ve taken a number of unprecedented measures in the last few days, and this declaration of an emergency enables me to be faster, more streamlined and more nimble in the things that we need to do.”

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Of the 186 cases of coronavirus across B.C., the majority are in the Lower Mainland. The province said there are 116 cases in Vancouver Coastal Health and another 47 in the Fraser Health region.

Another 12 are on Vancouver Island while there are four in the Northern Health region.

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‘Help us’: Canadians stuck abroad amid coronavirus outbreak ask federal government to step in

However, in announcing the numbers, the province is expecting those statistics to rise.

“We will see increased numbers over the next few days as well,” said Henry.

On Monday, Henry said she was only aware of two cases in the Interior Health region – a vast area that stretches from Williams Lake in the north to Osoyoos in the south and Cranbrook in the east.

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B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, calling it an unprecedented crisis, added the pandemic will likely go on “for weeks and months to come.”

He said public cooperation has been extremely strong, but that financial pressure will come later, such as people needing support for the basics.

One website said as of Tuesday afternoon there were just under 200,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide, China having the largest confirmed cases at 81,058. Canada was listed at having 478 cases.

The website said there were 7,902 deaths worldwide.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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