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 an eighth case of COVID-19 in B.C. The person affected is visiting from Tehran, Iran and arrived in British Columbia earlier this week. The patient is 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 female, in her 60s and is staying with family in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.
“Vancouver Coastal Health is actively investigating. 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.
“We are pleased to report that three additional patients who previously tested positive for COVID-19 are now fully recovered, for a total of four fully recovered patients. The other individuals continue to recover in isolation at home and under the care of public health teams. The BCCDC has completed testing on 1,425 samples for 1012 individuals as of Feb. 27, 2020.
“While the risk of spread of COVID-19 within British Columbia remains low at this time, we continue to focus efforts on containing and delaying the spread of transmission, as well as preparing for the possibility of a pandemic. A pandemic is the spread of an illness to a large number of people on a global scale.
“We are asking all British Columbians to do their part to prevent the transmission of infections in our communities and in our health-care system to help protect everyone in B.C.
“Similar to how you may need to care for someone with influenza, you want to ensure you have sufficient food, medications and support in place to stay home for a number for days.
“Employers should increase cleaning and hand hygiene availability, in addition to thinking about how they will manage absenteeism through steps such as remote working or virtual meetings.
“The most important measures people can take today is to proactively prevent the transmission of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. This includes cleaning your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve and disposing of tissues appropriately. It is also very important to stay home and away from others if you or your family are sick.
“British Columbians with upcoming travel plans should continue to monitor the Government of Canada travel site for the latest travel advisories: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices/210
“Travellers should understand that as global efforts to contain COVID-19 continue, the availability of health-care services in some areas may be limited and travel restrictions may be put in place suddenly.
“We ask all international travellers who are returning to B.C. to monitor themselves and their children closely for symptoms. If any symptoms arise, limit their contact with others and connect with their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811 to determine if COVID-19 testing is needed. This is an important way to reduce the possibility of transmission of illness to others.”