UPDATE: New presumptive case of novel coronavirus in British Columbia: health officer - InfoNews

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UPDATE: New presumptive case of novel coronavirus in British Columbia: health officer

FILE PHOTO - British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C, Tuesday, January 28, 2020.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
February 04, 2020 - 4:26 PM

VANCOUVER - A woman in her 50s in the Vancouver area is believed by B.C. health officials to have contracted the novel coronavirus, but the provincial health officer says she is in stable condition in isolation at home.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday it is a presumptive case of the new coronavirus until positive test results come back from samples sent to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg, which she expects to happen.

The woman had family visiting from Hubei province in China, where the city of Wuhan is at the centre of the outbreak in that country, said Henry.

The patient was assessed in hospital after becoming ill a few days ago, said Henry, and the testing for the novel coronavirus came back positive late Monday night.

Henry said a "small number" of family members from China are also staying at the woman's home.

If the case is confirmed, it would be the fifth case in Canada, with one other case in B.C. and three in Ontario.

"This case is not unexpected. It tells us that our system is working, that we're finding people, that we're assessing them safely in the hospital setting," Henry told a news conference.

The woman's family members left Wuhan before travel restrictions were put in place by the Chinese government, said Henry, and they have been minimizing contact with people outside the home.

Vancouver Coastal Health is following up with anyone the woman has been in close contact with before reaching out to anyone who may have had more peripheral contact, said Henry.

Henry said transmission of the novel coronavirus depends on proximity to someone who is infected.

"It's very different if you're living in a household with somebody versus walking your dog down the street every now and then," she said.

The virus has sickened more than 23,000 people in mainland China and killed 490 people.

A charter plane for Canadians in China is expected to leave Thursday. As of Tuesday, the federal government said 308 Canadians have asked for help to leave the country, but the plane only has room for about 250 passengers.

Henry said it's estimated that about one third of the passengers on the flight will return to B.C. after a 14-day isolation period at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

The plane is set to refuel at Vancouver International Airport, she said, and officials are preparing in case anyone needs to be taken from the plane before it continues on to Ontario.

Canadian Forces medical personnel will be on board the flight from China and the plane will allow for a separate isolation area should a passenger develop symptoms during the flight, said Henry.

To prevent the transmission of the virus, Henry advised people to wash their hands regularly, cover their mouths when coughing and to stay home if they are sick. She also urged anyone who has been in Hubei province within the last two weeks to stay away from other people until the incubation period for the virus has passed, and to contact public health officials with any concerns about symptoms.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2020.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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