Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in British Columbia:
“We are announcing two new cases of novel coronavirus in B.C. The people affected are in the same household and have been in close contact with the previously reported second confirmed case announced on Feb. 5. The three cases and all close contacts remain in isolation at home.
“The two individuals are presumed positive based on local testing, and samples have been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg for final confirmation. One individual is male, the other female, and both are in their 30s. They are visitors to the Vancouver Coastal Health region from Hubei province, China.
“Vancouver Coastal Health continues to investigate. Their close contacts have been identified and continue to be followed by the health authority.
“Our knowledge of 2019-nCoV continues to grow as new information becomes available. Across the country, the federal, provincial and territorial governments are using this new evidence to inform and adjust our public health actions as circumstances develop globally.
“We want to reassure people that the risk of spread of this virus within British Columbia remains low at this time. We are watching the situation very closely and will notify the public if measures in B.C. change. The goal is rapid identification of potential cases, timely care for those who need it and prevention of local transmission.
“Now is the time for tolerance. We call on all British Columbians to come together as a community to help one another. In this time of uncertainty, this is not only the right response, but the necessary one. Fear obstructs the important work of our public health officials to protect the health and safety of British Columbians.
“The most important measures to prevent all respiratory illnesses, including this novel coronavirus, remain cleaning your hands regularly and avoiding touching your face, as well as coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately and staying home and away from others if you become sick.
“As we recommended in our last briefing, and together with our federal and provincial partners, we ask people who have recently visited, or who have been in close contact with someone who has recently visited the Hubei province in China, to call public health officials and self-isolate for 14 days.
“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.”