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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

TIME IS RUNNING OUT: Readers invited to share wildlife photographs

Aim, snap, shoot, and share your pictures of wildlife in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to win!

LETTER: All Washington plate owners can’t be Canadian residents

A Maple Ridge man questions presence of U.S. vehicles in the Canada, despite closed borders

Residential real estate market rebounding well: long-time realtor

House prices, sales, and listings in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are moving on an upward trajectory

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are prepared for high Fraser River levels

Peak numbers are expected to be below trigger levels for both cities

‘Protect our jobs,” say laid-off hotel workers to MLA Lisa Beare

Delegation delivered a petition to Maple Ridge MLA office on Friday

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

At least one person to hospital, both vehicles sustained significant damage

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Most Read