6th presumptive case of coronavirus confirmed in BC

Feb 20 2020, 5:44 pm

After announcing earlier this week that British Columbia’s first case of COVID-19 has fully recovered, health officials announced late Thursday afternoon that a sixth presumptive positive case of coronavirus has been confirmed in BC.

Speaking at a press conference, Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry said the latest case is a woman who lives in the Fraser Health region and is currently in isolation after returning from Iran this week.

“Today, we are announcing a new case of COVID-19 in British Columbia,” said Henry. “A woman in her 30s is presumed positive based on local testing, and samples have been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg for final confirmation.”

When asked about the Iran connection and what it means for the spread, Henry responded it was a “very good” question.

“We were surprised, as you can imagine, but this person was only in areas of Iran,” she said, noting that Fraser Health is “actively” investigating the situation.

“The patient’s close contacts will be identified and contacted by public-health officials,” said Henry. “The patient is in isolation at home.”

Henry noted that this particular case was a “more mild” form of the virus – mild enough that the woman “was assessed at a hospital and sent home.”

The woman “got herself checked for what she originally thought was the flu,” Henry added. “Most people who been tested for coronavirus have been tested for influenza.”

When asked about the timeline of the woman’s travels in Iran, Henry said the woman was there “in late January…for a couple of weeks, and returned home to BC within the last week.”

Since returning home, the woman has had contact with others, including family members, who are now being monitored by health officials.

In light of today’s announcement, Henry maintained that the “risk of this virus spreading within British Columbia remains low at this time [and] we are closely monitoring the situation in Canada and abroad.”

In the meantime, “we continue to recommend that everyone take the same important measures to help protect from respiratory illnesses at this time of year,” Henry said. “We will notify the public if the measures in BC change.”

There are currently seven confirmed cases of the virus in Canada — two in Ontario — a third has been resolved — and five in British Columbia.