The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BC-CDC) has confirmed that a British Columbia resident has been diagnosed with the province’s first case of the coronavirus.
The diagnosed man is a resident in the Vancouver Coastal Health region in his 40s. He regularly travels to China for work and returned from a trip to Wuhan City last week. According to the B.C. Ministry of Health, he began exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus a day after he arrived home.
He contacted health care officials and said he was coming in for assessment and care. On January 27th, he was confirmed as having the province’s first case of the illness.
Currently, the man is at his home, in isolation – officials are closely monitoring him, and he has not been deemed in serious condition at this time.
Coronavirus risk for B.C. residents is still low, province says
“The risk of the spread of this virus within British Columbia remains low at this time,” said the Ministry of Health in a press release on Tuesday, January 28th.
“All necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection. We have multiple systems in place to prepare for, detect and respond, in order to prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases in the province.”
In a press conference with reporters on Tuesday morning, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that this confirmation does not change the province’s plan for handling the illness.
“We know we have a lot of travel between China and British Columbia. We have been on high alert for a number of weeks,” Henry told reporters. “This does not change what we are doing here in British Columbia. It just confirms that our surveillance is actually working.
See more: First case of coronavirus reported in North America
Dr. Henry also told reporters that there are assessments happening constantly, and that the BC-CDC would be posting the number of tests conducted at the end of each week. But considering the amount of travellers between B.C. and China, Dr. Henry said she expects more coronavirus victims in the province.
“I would be absolutely surprised if we did not have more cases,” Dr. Henry said.
She stressed the risk faced by British Columbians is still “extremely low,” but that the province will keep the public informed about future diagnoses.
“You will hear from us if people have this disease and have been diagnosed with it here. We are doing everything we can to protect people in British Columbia.”
B.C. health officials deserve plaudits: Dix
In the press conference, B.C.’s health minister Adrian Dix said health officials in B.C. have set the standard for how provinces can tackle the Coronavirus. Dix said the province will continue to monitor the situation closely and inform the public accordingly.
“We are determined to provide the information that the public needs, and we have public health officials who have done an excellent job,” Dix said. “The diligence they’re showing is extraordinary. I am very proud of them and I think British Columbians should be too.”
On Monday, January 27th, the Government of Canada formally issued a travel advisory for China’s Hubei province.
The statement advises Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel to Hubei, including the cities of Wuhan, Huanggang, and Ezhou “in order to limit the spread of a novel coronavirus.”
“The Public Health Agency of Canada is actively monitoring the situation and working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international partners to gather additional information,” Health Canada’s website states. “Our recommendations may change as new information becomes available.”
The respiratory disease was first reported on December 31st, 2019. Symptoms have included fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
With files from Brishti Basu