Health officials say B.C.’s first presumptive case of novel Wuhan coronavirus is now confirmed, after lab tests came back positive for the deadly infection.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the test results came back Wednesday for the man in his 40s, who remains in isolation at home.
“The risk of spread of this virus within British Columbia remains low at this time,” Henry said in a statement.
“All necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection.
“We have multiple systems in place to prepare for, detect and respond to prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases in the province.”
Health officials said Tuesday that the man, who lives in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, recently travelled to the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak started.
After experiencing an onset of symptoms following his return to Vancouver last week, he contacted a primary health care provider for assessment and care.
The man continues to be in regular contact with Vancouver Coastal Health officials while in isolation, Henry said Wednesday.
No members of his family have shown any symptoms, officials said.
The case was initially announced as presumptive while officials waited for test results to return from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg to fully confirm the case.
The B.C. case marks Canada’s third confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, which has now killed 170 people in China and infected over 7,700 people.
The other two cases in Toronto were confirmed Tuesday, after Ontario health officials said the wife of the first confirmed case also contracted the virus. Those patients had also travelled to Wuhan.
Henry said despite the confirmation, it is not necessary for the general public to take protective measures beyond the usual measures recommended during the regular flu season.
“Regular handwashing, coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately and avoiding contact with sick people are important ways to prevent the spread of respiratory illness generally,” she said.
Enhanced screening procedures were implemented at Vancouver International Airport last week. Henry said Tuesday a number of people arriving at the airport have been assessed and none have tested positive.
Air Canada and other airlines have since suspended all travel to China due to concerns of the illness spreading.
The Canadian government announced Wednesday that it’s putting together a plan to evacuate Canadian citizens in China, with an aircraft lined up to accommodate the passengers who want to fly out of the Asian country.