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 (COVID-19) in British Columbia:
“Today we are announcing a new case of COVID-19 in B.C. A female in her 30s is presumed positive, based on local testing. Samples have been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg for final confirmation. She lives in the Interior Health region and recently returned from China.
“Interior Health is actively investigating. Her close contacts have been identified and are being contacted. The patient is in isolation at home.
“This brings the total number of cases in B.C. to five. One is presumed positive. Four, located in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, have been confirmed positive by the NML and remain in isolation. Public health teams are providing ongoing care and support to all five individuals.
“As of Feb. 14, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has tested almost 500 people for COVID-19. The testing numbers are posted each Friday on the BCCDC website. In B.C., we have selected testing criteria with an intentionally low threshold to ensure a wide range of people are eligible for COVID-19 testing.
“The risk of spread of this virus within British Columbia remains low at this time. We continue to monitor the outbreak closely and will notify the public if the measures in B.C. change.
“The strength of our public health care system is best demonstrated when people show respect, tolerance and compassion toward one another.
“We want to express our deep appreciation for the countless health-care providers – from public-health teams to our nurses to those responsible for housekeeping services – for their steadfast commitment and diligence to mobilize and address the risks of COVID-19.
“We also extend our appreciation to members of the public, who have come together to help one another and support their neighbours and fellow community members.
“We acknowledge and express our thanks to the ongoing work of the media, which has been key to bringing high-quality health information to the public.”
“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.
“The most important measures to prevent all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, 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, COVID-19 should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. Translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages.”
For more information and latest updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit the website: http://www.bccdc.ca/