"Public health officials are in regular contact with the individual who is in isolation at home," said Dr. Bonnie Henry
On Monday, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control stated a Vancouver laboratory had confirmed a “presumed positive test” for 2019-nCoV.
However, to be absolutely sure, the patient’s sample was sent to the National Medical Laboratory in Winnipeg for additional testing.
“This (Wednesday) afternoon, those tests returned positive for 2019-nCoV, confirming the presumed case is indeed novel coronavirus,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry in a prepared statement.
“Public health officials are in regular contact with the individual who is in isolation at home.”
Henry said the risk of spread of the virus within British Columbia “remains low at this time.”
“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,” she said.
“It is not necessary for the general public to take special precautions beyond the usual measures recommended to prevent other common respiratory viruses during the winter period. 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.”
At the three airports that receive direct fights from China — Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal — information screens in the customs areas have been set up, advising people to self-report to customs officials if they are experiencing any symptoms of the novel coronavirus. At electronic kiosks, a question has been added, requiring travellers to specify if they’ve been in the Chinese province at the heart of the outbreak.
Some airlines have halted all flights to China as a result of the outbreak, including British Airways and several Asian carriers, while Air Canada is only cancelling select flights to China.
On Wednesday, Canada’s chief public health officer said it would take at least a year before a vaccine was developed to protect people against the new coronavirus spreading around the globe.
More than 7,700 people in China have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus and 170 of them have died.
There are now three confirmed cases in Canada — all linked to recent travel in China.
The federal government, meanwhile, announced Wednesday that it has chartered a plane to evacuate 160 Canadians who’ve been trapped in China due to strict quarantine measures imposed by the Chinese government in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
The Canadian government is advising against all travel to China.
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