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Update: Provincial Health officials confirm 1st coronavirus case in B.C.

During Tuesday morning's announcement, Dr. Bonnie Henry says due to the frequency of travel between China and B.C., and family connections, she expects more cases to be confirmed in B.C. in the coming weeks. 
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The deadly coronavirus outbreak in China has killed at least 80 people, while the global infection tally is approaching 3,000 Photo: Burnaby Now

UPDATE 10:50 a.m.

B.C.'s provincial health officer says she would be “absolutely surprised if we did not see more cases” of the novel coronavirus in the province, following the announcement of the first confirmed case in B.C.

During Tuesday morning's announcement, Dr. Bonnie Henry says due to the frequency of travel between China and B.C., and family connections, she expects more cases to be confirmed in B.C. in the coming weeks. 

Despite this, Dr. Henry says the risk of infection of the virus in B.C. is "still extremely low."

The man who'd been diagnosed with the virus currently remains in isolation at home, but he is "doing well." Dr. Henry says the man was not symptomatic on his flight home, and was therefore not contagious, but officials in China have said the virus can in fact spread before a person is symptomatic. Dr. Henry said to be careful about those reports from China though. 

The BC Centre for Disease Control is currently testing a number of patients for the novel coronavirus, and Dr. Henry says because the number of tests conducted "changes on an hourly basis," they will be posting the number of tests completed at the end of each week. 

She cautioned people from getting their information on the spread of the virus from social media, pointing to rumours that can quickly spread. She says they will be immediately announcing additional positive diagnoses.  

More than 100 people have died from the virus in China, while more than 4,500 people have been diagnosed worldwide. 


UPDATE 10:25 a.m.

B.C.'s Minister of Health, Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, have issued a joint statement regarding a case of a novel coronavirus:

"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," says Henry.

"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."


ORIGINAL 10:17 a.m.

The first case of coronavirus in B.C has been confirmed.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirms B.C.'s first novel coronavirus case. A man in his 40s who lives in the Vancouver Coastal Health region recently returned from a trip to Wuhan, China.

B.C.'s health minister is updating the latest information in a press conference in Vancouver right now.

The case was confirmed Monday night.

The unidentified male, in his 40s, is a resident of Metro Vancouver, but he travelled to Wuhan last week and was assessed on Sunday.

The man put himself into voluntary self-isolation at his home after returning from China. He admits he has had a small number of contacts with immediate family and health officials are confident they've reached everyone he came into contact with.

The man was not symptomatic on his return flight from Wuhan, and therefore not considered contagious.

- Catanet / Nicholas Johansen 

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