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6th case of COVID-19 reported in B.C., contracted by woman visiting Iran

New case of COVID-19 reported in B.C. after woman returns from Iran
B.C. health officials announce a new case of COVID-19 after a woman in her late thirties returned to B.C. after travelling to Iran in late January.

B.C.’s sixth case of COVID-19 was contracted by a woman who was visiting Iran, B.C.’s top doctor and health minister confirmed Thursday evening.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said the woman in her 30s visited the Middle East country in late January and returned to B.C. within the past week. She was diagnosed after taking herself to hospital with flu-like symptoms, she added, but was sent home.

“We were surprised as you can imagine,” Henry said about the case, which is the first one in the province without a connection to China.

“We expect there will be an international investigation.”

Henry said the woman’s case is relatively mild and a number of her close contacts have already been put in isolation.

Federal health minister in Vancouver to discuss novel coronavirus
Federal health minister in Vancouver to discuss novel coronavirus

The woman herself is in isolation at her home in the Fraser Health region and is being monitored by provincial health officials.

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During the joint press conference with Health Minister Adrian Dix, Henry noted Iran is beginning to see cases of the novel coronavirus.

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

The country has reported five cases as of Thursday, two of whom have died.

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“It’s unexpected. It’s what we call a sentinel event,” Henry said.

B.C. confirms another presumptive case of COVID-19
B.C. confirms another presumptive case of COVID-19

On Wednesday, Henry said the province’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient has now fully recovered.

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

Three other patients are now asymptomatic. The province is monitoring the health of a Lower Mainland woman in her 50s and two relatives visiting from China’s Hubei province, who remain isolated in her home.

The province’s top doctors said the province’s fifth COVID-19 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.

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

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.

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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.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Quarantine periods for some Canadians at CFB Trenton coming to an end Friday

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

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.

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 Trenton around 2 a.m. Eastern time.

Canadians leave quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship
Canadians leave quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship

At least 43 Canadians aboard the Diamond Princess have contracted the virus, and are receiving care in Japan.

Three other Canadians in Ontario have tested positive after travelling home from China, but one of those cases — the first one reported in Canada — has since been cleared.

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

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–with files from Simon Little