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First presumptive case of novel coronavirus confirmed in B.C.

Last Updated Feb 10, 2020 at 5:16 pm PDT


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

It is a man in his 40s who returned from China last week

Officials say the spread of the virus remains low in the province

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The first presumptive case of the novel coronavirus has been confirmed in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

A man in his 40s returned from Wuhan City, China last week, where he travels regularly for work. He is doing well while he remains in isolation at home.

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry says people close to the man have been contacted.

“Those people do not have any symptoms so there’s no testing needed,” she explains. “We don’t have a map of where [the man] went. This was a gentleman who was well aware of what was going on in China and when he returned he voluntarily self-isolated.”

She says screening measures at airports are working and while people have self-identified for testing.

“We’ve been looking for people who have travelled anywhere in China and doing detailed assessments.”

Henry adds the man did not show symptoms on the plane and is reassuring people there is no risk to those who shared the flight. However, officials in other countries are reporting the virus is possibly contagious before symptoms show.

When it comes to online rumours about the virus, Henry says they are creating unnecessary work and confusion.

“Take all those rumours with a grain of salt and recognize they are just that –rumours,” she says, adding information regarding which flight or what day the man travelled will not be released.

A statement from the province says the situation is being monitored.

“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.”

Officials say there is no reason to take any special precautions.

“Regular hand washing, 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,” the statement reads.

The Vancouver Coastal Health region includes Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond, the Sea to Sky, the Sunshine Coast, and the Central Coast.