B.C. health officials announce seventh case of coronavirus

7th virus case confirmed

UPDATE: 10:40 a.m.

A seventh case of the novel coronavirus has been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing to 11 the number of cases in Canada.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday a man in his 40s who is a close contact of the sixth case in the province has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The man had symptoms before the woman's diagnosis, Henry said.

"There were a few additional close contacts that he had that have now been identified over the weekend and are also in isolation and being monitored carefully," she added.

The sixth case involves a woman in her 30s whose diagnosis was confirmed last week after she returned from Iran.

Cases of COVID-19 diagnosed at the BC Centre for Disease Control no longer require confirmation at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg because the province's testing has been validated, Henry said.

She said health officials are hoping the new coronavirus will be similar to influenza and other respiratory viruses that circulate during winter and typically wane in early spring.

"But we are not out of the woods yet, and really that buys us time," she said.

If the virus can't be contained and eradicated from human transmission, Henry said it might arise next influenza season, by which time anti-viral medications and a vaccine could be developed.

Screening people at airports is challenging and limited, so countries like Iran, which has an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, should not allow people with symptoms to fly elsewhere, Henry said.

Anyone with symptoms should limit their contact with others and contact their primary care provider, local public health office or call the 811 healthline to reduce the possibility of passing the virus on to others, Henry said.

– The Canadian Press

ORIGINAL: 9:30 a.m.

A seventh case of coronavirus in British Columbia has just been confirmed.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix, B.C.'s health minister, made the announcement Monday morning. 

The patient is a man in his 40s in the Fraser Health region, who had close contact with the patient confirmed as the sixth case in B.C., CTV News reports.

Officials are waiting on a second test result from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg to confirm it. Until then, the case is considered presumptive positive. 

The sixth case was a woman in her 30s who also lives in the Fraser Health region, and had recently returned to Canada from Iran. 

The rise in cases outside of China in recent days is "quite concerning," says Henry. "Any international travellers, please monitor yourself carefully."

"Our goal in testing is to find people and to help them," Dix said, adding that prevention remains similar to stopping the spread of influenza.

"Most importantly, if you're sick, stay home from work. If you're sick stay home from school. We expect these emergency protocols to be in place for some time." 

– with files from CTV Vancouver

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