B.C. records its first presumptive case of the new coronavirus

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said the man works regularly in China and lives in the area covered by Vancouver Coastal Health

Health officials in B.C. say a man in his 40s is presumed to have coronavirus and is doing well as he recovers at home. He is the first presumptive case of the virus in the province.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said the man works regularly in China and lives in the area covered by Vancouver Coastal Health.

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She said the man has voluntarily isolated himself since returning to Canada last week and no members of his family have shown any symptoms as they are being monitored by health officials.

The province expects to have tests results from the man's case back from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg within 48 hours.

If confirmed, it would be the first case of coronavirus in B.C.

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of a new form of coronavirus, with at least 106 deaths.

In a joint statement, Henry and provincial Health Minister Adrian Dix said the risk of spread of the virus within British Columbia remains low, noting all necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection.

“We have multiple systems in place to prepare for, detect and respond in order to prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases in the province,” the statement reads. “The BC Centre for Disease Control has a team of experts that support the province's operations in monitoring and controlling communicable and vaccine-preventable diseases. The team has developed a diagnostic test for this new coronavirus and is co-ordinating staff and supplies to ensure potential cases can be detected quickly and accurately.”

Henry and Dix said the Provincial Health Authority is responsible for monitoring and assessing the health status of the population, making recommendations for strategies to address health issues and implementing immediate actions when necessary to protect the health of the public.

“The PHO has directed health-care workers to be vigilant and to take a travel history for anyone reporting respiratory symptoms,” the statement reads. “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.”

"Anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus should contact their primary-care provider, local public health office or call 811."

— with files from Canadian Press

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