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B.C.’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient has fully recovered, say health officials

In this illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
In this illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-CDC via AP, File

B.C.’s top doctor says the province’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient, a man in his 50s who had travelled to Wuhan, China, has now fully recovered.

Doctors believe the patient, a man in his 50s who had travelled to Wuhan, China, has recovered following two negative tests for the virus 24 hours apart.

“As of the weekend we had our second negative test, so he is considered ‘cured’ and no longer required to be in isolation, and I think that’s very good news,” said Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

READ MORE: B.C. identifies 5th presumptive case of COVID-19, woman who travelled near Shanghai

“Our second, third and fourth cases are now asymptomatic and we fully expect their testing will come back negative in the next few days as well.”

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Those three patients were a Lower Mainland woman in her 50s and two relatives visiting from China’s Hubei province, who remain isolated in her home.

Henry said the province’s fifth case, a woman in her 30s who had recently travelled to the Shanghai area, still has symptoms but is stable and doing well in isolation at her home in the B.C. Interior.

Click to play video '‘We have to be cautious’ about potential decline in COVID-19 cases: European health officials' ‘We have to be cautious’ about potential decline in COVID-19 cases: European health officials
‘We have to be cautious’ about potential decline in COVID-19 cases: European health officials – Feb 19, 2020

B.C. has tested more than 500 people for the virus, but the province has only confirmed five cases of the virus so far.

Henry also sought to assuage concerns that the people who had tested positive for COVID-19 may have spread it before being identified.

“[We] go through all the places that they’ve been, understand where they might have had dinner, if they were in a private car, did they take public transport, were they on an airplane, all of the contacts from even before they started showing symptoms,” she said.
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“[Then] we can do what we call a risk assessment and see if anyone might have had close contact in a situation that might have allowed transmission of this virus.”

Giving the example of B.C.’s fifth case, who developed COVID-19 symptoms while still on an aircraft but was wearing a mask, Henry said everyone who was seated near her is being monitored and provided with information about what to do if they develop symptoms.

She said the province was also monitoring 20 people who were aboard the MS Westerdam and have since returned to British Columbia.

That cruise ship docked in Cambodia, and one of its passengers later tested positive for the virus.

Henry said all 20 were in isolation at home out of an abundance of caution.

“It may not be that we require them to be self-isolated for 14 days if nobody else shows up as positive and we have a better understanding,” she said.

READ MORE: COVID-19 — Passengers begin leaving Japanese cruise ship after quarantine ends

“Right now there are still concerns because cruise ships can be such an area for transmission of this virus.”

With the 14-day quarantine period set to lift soon at Canadian Forces Base Trenton for many of the people repatriated from Wuhan and Hubei province, Henry also revealed that about one-third would be returning to B.C.

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Canadians who were trapped aboard a second cruise ship, the Diamond Princess which is docked in Yokohama, Japan, are due to arrive by plane at CFB in the coming days, Henry said.

Three other Canadians in Ontario have tested positive for the virus, and at least 43 Canadians aboard the Diamond Princess also contracted it.

Worldwide, more than 75,000 cases have been confirmed, with the virus claiming the lives of more than 2,000.