British Columbia

Officials confirm first case of coronavirus in B.C.

Health officials have confirmed the first case of the coronavirus in British Columbia. 

Suspected case substantiated by national laboratory

Health officials say the risk or the virus spreading is still low for British Columbians. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Health officials have confirmed the first case of the coronavirus in British Columbia. 

A man in his 40s — who was earlier presumed to have contracted the virus — was confirmed to be infected after testing by the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

The patient is "in isolation at home," the office of the provincial health officer said in a statement Wednesday. 

"The risk of spread of this virus within British Columbia remains low at this time."

The man, who lives in the Vancouver area, developed symptoms after flying back from a business trip to Wuhan.

The flu-like virus broke out in the central Chinese city of Wuhan last month. It has killed 170 people and infected more than 7,700 others. 

This latest case is the third confirmed one in Canada. Two others have been reported in Ontario. 

The general public doesn't need to take any precautions "beyond the usual measures recommended to prevent other common respiratory viruses during the winter period," the B.C.'s health officer's office said. 

Those precautions include regular hand-washing, coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately and avoiding contact with sick people.

Other passengers who were on the same flight as the man are not believed to be at risk of contracting the virus because he didn't develop symptoms until after arriving home, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told CBC News earlier on Wednesday.

She says it's very unlikely that people will transmit the virus before they have symptoms.

The patient has had limited contact with others since arriving back in B.C. and will not require hospitalization, according to Henry.

 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 HealthLinkBC at 811.


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