Several people in BC tested for new coronavirus, says CDC

Possible virus cases in BC

Several British Columbians are being tested for the mysterious coronavirus that has killed 17 people in China.

The virus, originating from the Chinese city of Wuhan, has sickened more than 500 people. On Tuesday, a person who had travelled to Wuhan to visit family was the first confirmed case in the U.S. He's currently recovering in an Everett, Wash., hospital.

On Wednesday, CTV News reported that several people in B.C. have been tested for the virus.

"We've had about a handful that we have been testing and following up – they're unlikely to prove to be cases at this stage, but because globally we are in an all-out public health effort to identify cases early with a goal of trying to contain this virus ... those cases are important for us to be able to monitor," Dr. Danuta Skowronski with the BC Centre for Disease Control, told CTV.

Skowronski says hospitals across Metro Vancouver have received information about how to handle possible infections.

"That is an important lesson learned from SARS, that all our hospitals may at any time receive into their emergency room patients who indicate they've had travel to Wuhan, so we want all of our hospitals to be prepared for that," said Skowronski.

So far, there are no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Canada.

"We are very interested in this virus because we want to be able to, like we did successfully with the SARS coronavirus, stamp it out, drive it back into nature so that it cannot become another coronavirus that's established itself in the human population,” Skowronski said.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

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