B.C. health ministry provides update on COVID-19 coronavirus in province on February 11

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      Today (February 11), the B.C. government provided an update on the status of COVID-19 (2019-nCoV, or the novel coronavirus) in the province.

      In a joint statement, B.C. health minister Adrian Dix and B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed that B.C. continues to have only four confirmed cases of the virus, and that all cases are in stable condition, recovering in isolation at home, and all close contacts (who are being monitored by health officials) remain asymptomatic.

      B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) identified the first case on January 27 and the second case on February 4. The third and fourth cases, in the same household, were identified on February 6, and confirmed by the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

      The BCCDC stated that it has tested a total of 371 samples from 264 individuals for the virus, as of February 6, with testing criteria set “with an intentionally low threshold to ensure a wide range of people are eligible”.

      Meanwhile, the second Canadian-operated repatriation flight with Canadians returning from Wuhan, China, arrived at Vancouver International Airport on February 10 before continuing on to Canadian Forces Base Trenton (CFB Trenton) in Ontario.

      No one from the flight remained in B.C.

      The returning Canadians will remain at CFB Trenton for 14 days.

      As in previous statements, Dix and Dr. Henry reiterated that the risk of the virus spreading within the province remains low.

      “We are watching the evolution of the outbreak in China closely and will notify the public if the measures we need to take in B.C. change,” they stated. “Now is the time for tolerance. We call on all British Columbians to come together as a community to help one another. In this time of uncertainty, this is not only the right response, but the necessary one. Fear obstructs the important work of our public health officials to protect the health and safety of British Columbians.”

      Anyone who has recently visited or anyone who has been in close contact with anyone who recently China’s Hubei province is instructed to contact public health officials and self-isolate for 14 days.

      “Anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of, 2019-nCoV should contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call 811. Translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages.”

      To prevent potential spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, citizens are advised to clean hands regularly, avoid touching the face, cough or sneeze into an elbow sleeve, dispose of tissues appropriately, and stay away from others if sick.

      More information and updates on COVID-19  is available at the BCCDC website.

      There are currently approximately 43,000 cases worldwide, with about 1,000 deaths and 4,300 recoveries. The most number of cases outside of mainland China include Hong Kong (49 cases), Singapore (47), and Thailand (33). The U.S. has 13 while Canada has seven.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.