The Ministry of Health and Social Services said in a statement late Thursday that tests performed at Quebec’s Public Health Laboratory came back positive for COVID-19, but officials are still waiting for final test results to be confirmed by the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.
The patient, a woman of unknown age, had travelled to France and returned to Quebec on Tuesday, only to learn she had been in contact with a confirmed case while abroad, health officials said.
After calling the province’s health info hotline and following isolation instructions, the woman then went to a hospital in the Montérégie region, where precautionary measures were taken.
“A search for close contacts of the infected person is underway in order to apply the necessary protective measures in the community,” the ministry’s statement reads. “Appropriate recommendations will be given to the persons concerned.”
Yves Jalbert, Quebec’s deputy director general of public health protection, praised the actions of the woman who followed the province’s guidelines for cases of coronavirus, along with health officials and staff who guided her towards treatment.
France has recorded 423 cases of the virus as of late Thursday, up by 138 in one day, according to the national health service. There have been seven deaths so far in the country.
Quebec’s two confirmed coronavirus cases are also linked to travel. The first had visited Iran, one of the hardest-hit countries outside China, while the second returned from a trip to India. Both cases are said to be stable.
Quebec’s health ministry said on Thursday that the overall risk of contracting the virus in the province is still considered low. Officials are asking the public to practise proper hygiene measures, including rigorous hand washing.
As of Thursday evening, the province said 20 people are under investigation for COVID-19 and that 242 tests have come back negative.
Canada is now home to 44 other confirmed cases, all in B.C. and Ontario. Thursday saw B.C. confirm eight new cases, while Ontario confirmed three.
Alberta announced its first presumptive case Thursday. That case and one of the three confirmed in Ontario are connected to the Grand Princess cruise ship currently stopped off the California coast over coronavirus concerns.
—With files from Global’s Benson Cook, Kalina LaFramboise and Alessia Simona Maratta and ReutersView link »