Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry answers questions about overdose deaths at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 7, 2019. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

B.C. has recorded its first case of novel coronavirus from China, B.C. Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry says.

The patient, a man in his 40s who regularly visits China, is “doing well in isolation at home,” Henry told a news conference at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control in Vancouver Tuesday.

B.C.’s first patient visited Wuhan, the Chinese city where the new virus was first identified, and reported symptoms after he returned to his home in the Vancouver Coastal Health Region.

The man was aware of the risk and “self-isolated” after his return, Henry said. “This person was not symptomatic on his flight, and there is no risk” to other people, she said.

Canada’s Foreign Minister Francois-Phillippe Champagne said Tuesday the federal government is in contact with Chinese authorities and is part of an international effort to control the spread of the new respiratory virus.

Health officials say the world-wide sharing of information and speed of diagnostic tests has improved greatly since the 2003 outbreak of another new viral strain, called severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

RELATED: As 106 reported dead from the coronavirus outbreak, countries look to evacuate citizens

Henry warned against social media rumours about the spread of the disease, and said the public’s best source of information is the frequently updated coronavirus page at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Henry said B.C.’s first confirmed patient arrived back in the Vancouver area last week, but declined to say which day. The patient underwent testing that indicated he has the coronavirus strain that has prompted China to isolate several cities to contain its spread.

RELATED: Canadian airports add warnings, traveller checks

Henry, who worked on the 2003 SARS epidemic and also on containing the ebola virus in Africa, said the novel coronavirus is less easily transmitted than common influenza, because its receptors are deeper in the lung. That makes it less likely to contract it from touching contaminated surfaces rather than direct contact.

“As long as you clean your hands before you touch your face or your mouth, you’re not going to get that virus inyour body,” Henry said.

People who have respiratory symptoms can reduce their risk of transmitting it by covering their mouths when they cough or wearing a mask. If they have travelled to affected areas, they should call 8-1-1 to report any symptoms.

RELATED: Canada calls for ‘essential travel only’ to Chinese cities

In February 2003, the Chinese government notified the World Health Organization of 305 cases of SARS, with five deaths and 105 health-care workers infected. In the early stages, China provided information to WHO only on Guangdong province, where the virus was believed to have originated, and discouraged news reports of other infection sites in the country.

SARS spread to Hong Kong and from there to Toronto, from people who came into contact with each other at the same Hong Kong hotel. More than 400 Canadians were eventually diagnosed with SARS and 44 died in an epidemic that killed 800 people world-wide.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From the Peanuts gallery

PCSS presents What’s It All About, Charlie Brown?

Kootenay-Columbia MP urges end to ‘illegal roadblocks’ in solidarity with pipeline dispute

Rob Morrison says protestors across Canada need to remove roadblocks on roads, rail lines

New ‘hub’ model takes regional approach to doctor recruitment in West Kootenay

Kootenay-Boundary a provincial leader in effectively attracting doctors to work here

The Musical Life of Marlene Nash

Pictured above: Marlene Nash re-enacts one of her winning numbers from the… Continue reading

Town of Creston gets grant to ‘undevelop’ reservoir site

By Lorne Eckersley A last minute grant application earlier in the winter… Continue reading

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Most Read