Joint statement on first case of novel coronavirus in B.C.
Letter to the Editor
Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer (PHO), have issued the following joint statement regarding a case of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
Late yesterday (Jan. 27), our BC Centre for Disease Control public health lab confirmed a positive test for 2019-nCoV.
The person is a male in his forties and a resident in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. He travels regularly to China for work and was in Wuhan city on his most recent trip. He returned to Vancouver last week and had an onset of symptoms after his return.
On Sunday, Jan. 26, he followed public health messaging, contacted a primary health-care provider to notify them that he had travelled to Wuhan city, was experiencing symptoms and would be coming for assessment and care.
Following established protocols, the primary-care provider notified the Vancouver Coastal Health medical health officer and administered the diagnostic test.
Late last night, the test came back positive.
Public health officials are in regular contact with the individual and a small number of close contacts. He is in isolation at home.
The risk of spread of this virus within British Columbia remains low at this time. All necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection. We have multiple systems in place to prepare for, detect and respond, in order to prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases in the province.
The BC Centre for Disease Control has a team of experts that support the province’s operations in monitoring and controlling communicable and vaccine-preventable diseases. The team has developed a diagnostic test for this new coronavirus and is co-ordinating staff and supplies to ensure potential cases can be detected quickly and accurately.
The PHO is responsible for monitoring and assessing the health status of the population, making recommendations for strategies to address health issues and implementing immediate actions when necessary to protect the health of the public. The PHO has directed health-care workers to be vigilant and to take a travel history for anyone reporting respiratory symptoms.
It is not necessary for the general public to take special precautions beyond the usual measures recommended to prevent other common respiratory viruses during the winter period. Regular handwashing, coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately and avoiding contact with sick people are important ways to prevent the spread of respiratory illness generally.
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.
For more information and latest updates on 2019-nCoV, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit this website.
Adrian Dix, Minister of Health,
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C. Provincial Health Officer