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Posted: February 5, 2020

B.C. government coronavirus update

Letter to the Editor

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, Feb. 4 issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in British Columbia.

We are announcing a second presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus in B.C.

The second person who tested positive is a woman in her 50s who resides in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. Laboratory testing results returned positive from the BC Centre for Disease Control late Monday, Feb. 3, and samples have been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg for confirmation. Vancouver Coastal Health is undertaking a detailed case investigation and will follow up with each of her close contacts. The individual had close contact with family visitors from Wuhan city and is in isolation at home.

Our knowledge of 2019-nCoV continues to grow as new information becomes available. Across the country, federal, provincial and territorial governments are using this new evidence to inform and adjust our public health actions as circumstances develop globally.

As the federal government works to bring returning Canadians home from Wuhan, the decision was made to quarantine passengers from the special charter flight for 14 days. These individuals are returning from the most intensely affected areas of China, and they will receive psychosocial and medical support upon their return, as well as consular services.

We are working closely with public health officials across Canada. Our focus is on people in British Columbia. Given the changing dynamics of the outbreak in China and globally, and recognizing we are in the midst of influenza season, we ask anyone here in B.C. who has been in Hubei province to consider staying home and keeping their children home until 14 days have passed from their last visit to Hubei. Monitor yourself and your children closely for symptoms, and if any symptoms arise, connect with your primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. This is an important way to reduce the possibility of transmission of illness to others.

We want to reassure people that the risk of this virus spreading within British Columbia remains low at this time. We are watching the evolution of the outbreak in China very closely and will notify the public if the measures we need to take in B.C. change.

The most important measures to prevent all respiratory illnesses including this novel coronavirus remain cleaning your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately and staying home and away from others if you become sick.

Anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. Translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages.

Lead image: Confirmed 2019-nCoV cases globally, as of Feb. 4, 2020 from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health,

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer


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