First 'presumptive' case of coronavirus in Canada confirmed, officials say B.C.'s risk remains low - InfoNews

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First 'presumptive' case of coronavirus in Canada confirmed, officials say B.C.'s risk remains low

People wear face masks as they ride an escalator at the Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Face masks sold out and temperature checks at airports and train stations became the new norm as China strove Tuesday to control the outbreak of a new coronavirus that has reached four other countries and territories and threatens to spread further during the Lunar New Year travel rush.
Image Credit: (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
January 25, 2020 - 3:39 PM

Canada has confirmed its first presumptive positive case of the new coronavirus.

Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the province's associate chief medical officer of health, says a man in his 50s who had travelled to Wuhan, China, was taken to Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital and is now in a negative pressure room

There have been more than 1,200 cases of the new type of virus, which originated in China but has since spread to Europe and North America, including three in France and two in the United States.

While 41 people have died of the virus in China, the World Health Organization has not declared the outbreak to be an international public health emergency.

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer,  issued a joint statement regarding the coronavirus in Ontario, shortly after the announcement was made.

"To date, there have been no cases of illness caused by the novel coronavirus in British Columbia and the overall risk to B.C. is still considered low.

"We know our colleagues in Ontario will continue to work with their local health officials and the federal health authorities to ensure every measure is taken to prevent the spread of this virus.

"We are closely watching the situation in Canada and globally, and are meeting regularly with our counterparts across the country to make sure we are prepared if cases arise in B.C.," they say in the statement.

The BC Centre for Disease Control has developed a diagnostic test for this new coronavirus, and they are co-ordinating staff and supplies to ensure they are prepared to quickly and accurately detect potential cases.

In addition, health-care workers have been asked to be vigilant and take a travel history for anyone reporting respiratory symptoms.

Anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, particularly if you have travelled to areas of China where the virus is active or been in contact with ill people from that area, should contact their health-care provider, local public health office or call 811.

According to the federal government, it is estimated that influenza results in 12,200 hospitalizations and about 3,500 deaths yearly.


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