B.C. health officials are reminding residents the risk of contracting the Wuhan coronavirus is low, and there are no confirmed cases in the province.
The joint statement from Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was released Saturday in the wake of the first presumptive case for the virus in Canada.
“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.,” the pair said.
Health officials in Ontario confirmed Saturday afternoon that a man in his 50s, who had travelled to Wuhan, was taken to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital and is now in stable condition in a negative-pressure room.
Officials in Toronto say the case was confirmed by a test there, but the illness would be officially confirmed once the National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases in Winnipeg completes its own testing.
Dix and Henry said they are confident Ontario health officials will “ensure every measure is taken to prevent the spread of this virus.”
They added the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has developed a diagnostic test for the new coronavirus, and is coordinating staff and supplies in order to prepare for the accurate detection of any potential cases.
Health-care workers in B.C. are also being asked to record the travel history of anyone reporting respiratory symptoms.
Enhanced screening is in place at Vancouver International Airport as well as airports in Toronto and Montreal, with all international travellers being asked if they have visited Wuhan.
The BCCDC said Friday that while a number of returning travellers screened at Vancouver International Airport are being investigated, none of those cases have tested positive for the deadly virus.
The agency also shot down rumours that potential or confirmed cases had been identified in Metro Vancouver, asking people to seek information only from official sources rather than social media.
Wuhan has been on lockdown since Wednesday night, with Chinese military blocking access to roads, transit stations and airports.
At least 41 people have died since the start of the outbreak, which has made over 1,300 people sick in China alone. The vast majority of the cases and deaths have been in the Hubei province, where Wuhan is the capital.
Sixteen surrounding cities have also been placed on lockdown, with the Chinese military blocking access to roads, train stations and airports.
The virus has also spread to 11 other countries, including Australia, France and the U.S., where two cases have been confirmed.
— With files from the Canadian Press