BC health officials announce 7th case of coronavirus

Feb 24 2020, 9:42 am

British Columbia health officials announced Monday there’s a seventh case of coronavirus in the province, bringing the total number of cases Canada has seen to 11.

A man in his 40s from BC’s Fraser Health region, just east of Vancouver, caught the virus after being in close contact with a woman in her 30s, also from the Fraser Health region, who recently returned from a trip to Iran.

The woman was identified on Thursday as BC’s sixth presumptive case of the novel coronavirus.

Both patients are in isolation at home.

Over the weekend, Air Canada and the BC Centre for Disease Control revealed the woman returned home aboard an Air Canada flight from Montreal to Vancouver on February 14.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters at a news conference that health officials are contacting those who may have been in touch with her.

“We are confident in this case and in the previous case that we are able to identify anybody who had any risk,” she told reporters, explaining health officials aren’t releasing detailed information like flight numbers to protect the patients’ privacy and not to cause panic.

The BC CDC’s lab is now officially authorized for COVID-19 testing, meaning cases can be confirmed in BC and samples no longer need to be sent to Winnipeg for confirmation on the national lab.

Henry added she thinks COVID-19 meets the classic definition of a pandemic, but said there’s still opportunity to contain it in Canada, since it’s being introduced through travel.

“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,” Henry said in a statement after her news conference.

The province is asking all international travellers returning to BC to monitor themselves and their children for symptoms, and to call 811 or a local public health office if they become sick.