BC has now tested 114 samples for the novel coronavirus

Jan 31 2020, 9:54 am

British Columbia has now tested 114 samples for the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, and all but one person tested negative, health officials told reporters Friday morning.

There remains only one confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in BC. It’s a man in his 40s from the Vancouver area who regularly travels to China, and visited Wuhan on his last trip.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s provincial health officer, said he remains in self isolation and is expected to recover.

“His condition was never a severe illness, and he’s been doing well,” she said.

Going forward, the BC Centre for Disease Control will post weekly updates about how many people have been tested for the virus. Right now more samples have been tested than people, because some patients provided more than one sample.

“If we do not take all the measures we can right now to eradicate this virus from human population, then we might end up with yet another ongoing endemic infection like influenza that we will have to deal with every year,” Henry said.

The novel coronavirus outbreak started in Wuhan in late 2019. The bug has since become known as 2019-nCoV. The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency over the outbreak on Thursday, but Canadian health officials say the risk here remains low.

The WHO’s move was not unexpected, Henry said, because it allows the WHO to marshall health resources in case lower or middle income countries with less robust health systems encounter cases of the virus.

According to the WHO, there are 7,711 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in China and 170 people have died.

Outside of China, the WHO says there are 83 cases in 18 countries. Only seven of those patients had no travel history to China.

By comparison, the flu is responsible for 12,000 to 60,000 deaths annually in the US alone, according to the US Centre for Disease Control.

Outside of BC, the only other cases of coronavirus in Canada are a married couple from Toronto and a student at Western University.

Friday morning, officials at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto said the husband was discharged because his health had improved. He’ll remain in isolation at home.