Coronavirus update: No new cases in BC, health officials say

Feb 11 2020, 12:13 pm

After previously confirming four cases of coronavirus in BC – including two as recent as last week – health officials said today that number has not changed, and there are no new cases to report at this time.

In a joint statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and BC Health Minister Adrian Dix said the province “continues to have only four confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV,” and noted that all four of those infected are “in stable condition and are recovering in isolation at home.”

Henry also provided an update on the status of testing currently being done in the province.

As of February 7, she said, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has tested a total of 371 samples for 2019-nCoV.

“We want to reassure people that the risk of this virus spreading within BC remains low at this time,” said Henry. “We are watching the evolution of the outbreak in China closely and will notify the public if the measures we need to take in BC change.”

Still, Henry said that health officials are asking people who have recently visited the Hubei province in China, or who have been in close contact with someone who has recently visited, to call public health officials and self-isolate for 14 days.

“The most important measures to prevent all respiratory illnesses, including 2019-nCoV, 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,” she added. “Anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, 2019-nCoV should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811.”

In the meantime, she added, “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,” said Henry.”Fear obstructs the important work of our public health officials to protect the health and safety of British Columbians.”

Tuesday’s announcement follows last Thursday’s news that two more presumptive cases of novel coronavirus were confirmed in British Columbia.

The two patients are in the same family as a woman in her 50s who was identified as BC’s second confirmed coronavirus patient. The pair are a man and woman in their 30s who live in China’s Hubei province, where the outbreak began.

They flew out of the province and into Vancouver before the travel restriction was put into place. Health officials believe one of the visitors likely transmitted the virus to the other two patients.

All three people in that family with the virus remain in isolation in their home in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

In Canada, there are five confirmed cases of coronavirus, three in Ontario and four in BC.

With files from Megan Devlin.