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Coronavirus case revealed in Interior Health region

coronavirus
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed a presumptive case of coronavirus in the Interior Health region at a press conference this afternoon. (via The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward)

The fifth case of coronavirus has been revealed in B.C. on Friday; the first in the Interior Health region.

According to B.C.'s top medical health official Dr. Bonnie Henry, the affected woman is in her 30s and flew into YVR from Shanghai recently, before driving to her home in the Interior region.

The case is presumptive positive for the COVID-19 virus but needs to be confirmed by the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg.

The woman's location was not revealed during a press conference this afternoon, but Henry indicated she is at home in isolation and doing well.

It’s believed the woman’s symptoms started around the time of her arrival at YVR and health officials are looking at whether or not they need to contact other people on her flight.

“She had a small number of close contacts (after the flight),” added Henry on Friday.

Asked what the chances are of other passengers on that flight contracting the disease, Henry said the risk is “still very low.”

“My understanding is that the onset of symptoms were during the flight and she was wearing a mask," she said.

“We have a protocol for following up, (which involves) checking passengers three rows and back and forth…then we connect with them.”

Henry said the health authorities were not yet in a position to name which airline the woman flew in with and on what day.

“We’re not going to be giving those details right now…(we) don’t want to unnecessarily alarm people,” said Henry.

“We need people to be able to trust us and come forward. We will be able to give more information next week.”

Asked if there has been any more consideration of banning flights coming into YVR from China, B.C. health minister Adrian Dix said they continue to work closely with the federal government.

“(We) take every situation seriously and we ensure people coming back (into Canada) have the correct access to health care,” said Dix.

“The advice from the World Health Organization and the federal government is that we don’t (ban flights).”

Referring to messaging being put out by the Chinese consulate in Canada that people with coronavirus concerns should call 9-1-1, Henry reminded people that the number to call for health advice is 8-1-1.

Four of the five cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and the patients are in stable condition and still recovering in isolation at home, said Henry on Tuesday.

According to the BCCDC, 491 individuals in the province have been tested as of Feb. 13.




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