Health officials have identified another presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in B.C., and the patient is currently in critical condition in hospital.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the latest case – the 13th identified in B.C. so far – is a woman in her 80s who recently travelled to India and Hong Kong.
Henry said the woman has unfortunately developed "quite a severe illness," and is being treated in the Intensive Care Unit at Vancouver General Hospital.
"The hospital of course has been preparing for this and has taken all precautions to ensure that everybody in the hospital – the health care workers, the visitors, the other patients – are safe and are being protected," Henry told reporters Wednesday.
The woman has a number of underlying medical conditions that could potentially contribute to the severity of her illness, officials said.
The latest case is considered presumptive positive because she has been tested at hospital, but the samples haven't been confirmed by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
Henry said the woman was part of a tour group during her time in India, along with some friends who have now returned to other parts of Canada.
"The timing of her symptom onset is much more likely to be related to Hong Kong," Henry added. "Regardless, we are working with the Public Health Agency of Canada and will be getting the details of all the people who were on the trip in India … we'll be following each of those and at least warning them."
The latest numbers from the World Health Organization indicate there have been 95 confirmed COVID-19 infections in Hong Kong and just three in India.
Of the 13 COVID-19 patients identified in B.C., four have fully recovered and three others are no longer exhibiting symptoms. Henry said the asymptomatic patients are just waiting for lab tests to confirm they are no longer carrying the virus so they can go on with their normal lives.
Patients must be cleared by two successive tests conducted 24 hours apart before local health authorities will clear them to leave isolation.
Officials have also recently confirmed there are two strains of COVID-19, and Henry said both have been detected in B.C. She said local gene sequencing has detected slight differences in the viruses in people who have returned from Iran as opposed to those who visited China.
It's not yet clear whether either of the strains is more likely to cause severe symptoms than the other, Henry said.
Meanwhile, health officials in Washington state have confirmed another death connected to the virus, bringing the death toll in King and Snohomish counties to 10. The majority of the people who have died were residents of Life Care, a nursing home in Kirkland.