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:
“We are announcing a seventh case of COVID-19 in B.C. The person affected was in close contact with the previously reported sixth case announced on Feb. 20, 2020. Both cases remain in isolation at home with support and monitoring from public health teams.
“The individual has been confirmed positive based on BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) testing. The individual is male, in his 40s and lives in the Fraser Health region.
“The BCCDC is now officially authorized for COVID-19 testing by the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) and therefore samples no longer require further confirmation by the NML in Winnipeg.
“Fraser Health is actively investigating and close contacts have been identified and contacted by public health officials. Those who may be at risk are now in isolation for 14 days and are being actively monitored for symptoms daily.
“Of these seven cases, the first case has recovered, as indicated by the resolution of symptoms, followed by two successive negative test results 24 hours apart. The other six B.C. patients with COVID-19 remain in self-isolation at home and under care by public-health teams.
“The risk of spread of this virus within British Columbia continues to remain low at this time. We are watching recent global developments very closely and will continue to adapt our response to developing evidence and ongoing assessment of COVID-19 should it be required. We will notify the public if the measures in B.C. change.
“Given the changing dynamics of the outbreak in China and globally, and recognizing we are in the midst of influenza season, we ask all travellers who are returning to B.C. – no matter where they were in the world – to monitor themselves and their children closely for symptoms. If any symptoms arise, limit their contact with others and contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. This is an important way to reduce the possibility of transmission of illness to others.
“People who have recently travelled through the Hubei province of China or are returning from quarantined cruise ships are being contacted by public health officials and are self-isolating for 14 days upon arriving in B.C. after leaving the area of potential exposure.
“If people have travelled to mainland China in the past 14 days, they are advised to monitor themselves and their children closely for symptoms (fever, shortness of breath, cough and breathing difficulties), and to contact their public health office if they have any concerns.
“The most important measures people in B.C. can take to prevent respiratory illnesses including COVID-19 are 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 are 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.”