B.C. reports 28 new cases of COVID-19, infant tests positive at Vancouver NICU

A newborn baby has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and as many as eight other people were potentially exposed in an outbreak at a Vancouver neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry delivered the update in an unscheduled live briefing Friday where she announced 28 new cases of COVID-19, but no new deaths.

1:10 COVID-19 outbreak confirmed at St. Paul’s Hosptial NICU

COVID-19 outbreak confirmed at St. Paul’s Hosptial NICU

Babies, parents, families, and health care workers were exposed in the incident at St. Paul’s Hospital, and have now been isolated and are being monitored.

Henry said one infant has tested positive for the coronavirus but is not showing symptoms.

Read more: COVID-19 confirmed at St. Paul’s Hospital NICU

“Contact tracing is ongoing to understand how the virus was introduced into people in the NICU, and Vancouver Coastal Health is investigating with St. Paul’s and the staff there to ensure we have identified everybody,” said Henry.

4:37 Pregnancy and COVID-19

Pregnancy and COVID-19

Henry said the exposure was possible because B.C. had a policy allowing parents to visit their own newborn in the NICU without wearing a mask.

Most NICUs are smaller rooms, she said.

“This one is more of an open intensive care unit, although the bassinets were at least six feet apart, there were no barriers between them,” said Henry.

“So that meant there was potential for people who were in the NICU to be exposed.”

Vancouver Coastal Health has also issued an exposure alert for the Sandman Suites Hotel on Davie Street between July 7 and July 16.

Read more: Interior Health identifies more potential COVID-19 exposure locations in Kelowna

The number of cases linked to the Krazy Cherry farm near Oliver has climbed to four: two temporary foreign workers, and two members of the family that own the farm.

The number of cases now linked to exposures at private parties in Kelowna several weeks ago has climbed to 35.

“We anticipate there will be more cases in the coming days, as people who were exposed are now starting to develop symptoms,” said Henry.

Anyone who may have been exposed is being told to monitor for symptoms and limit their contact with others.

Henry used the Kelowna exposures to speak directly to young people, warning them that while they may face milder symptoms with COVID-19, they’re just as capable of passing it to others.

1:25 Dr. Bonnie Henry details Kelowna COVID-19 outbreak exposure now impacting 17 people

Dr. Bonnie Henry details Kelowna COVID-19 outbreak exposure now impacting 17 people

Henry also said the Site C case, which involves a worker from Alberta, showed that the province’s protocols are working.

Read more: COVID-19 case confirmed at Site C work camp in Fort St. John, B.C.

“I think it’s important to recognize that this person had very limited contacts after their recent return to the camp, and immediately identified when they were notified that they had a positive test,” she said.

“They have had no contact with any of the communities in that area.”

A small number of the workers’ close contacts have been identified and are isolating, Henry said.

B.C. reported no new deaths on Friday, but active cases in the province rose to 207.

In total, B.C. has recorded 3,198 cases of the virus, 17 of them epi-linked. Of those, 2,802 have recovered.

Eighteen people are in hospital with COVID-19, just two of them in critical care.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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