Fraser Health advises local school districts about contacts of latest B.C. coronavirus case
Contacts of a woman who tested positive after visit to Iran may have attended school, but are now isolated
Health officials in B.C.'s Fraser Valley say contacts of the latest presumptive case of coronavirus in the province may have attended school in the area, but that there is no public health risk in the region.
Fraser Health sent a letter to the school district for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, about 40 kilometres east of Vancouver, on Friday, to explain that students had contact with the latest case. It also sent the letter to School District 43, which serves Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and the villages of Anmore and Belcarra.
The letter came a day after provincial officials announced a woman in her 30s, who had returned from a trip to Iran, had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The case surprised officials when they learned she had only visited Iran, and not China or neighbouring countries that have had the bulk of COVID-19 cases.
The latest report from the World Health Organization said that Iran has reported 18 cases and four deaths from the virus.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Thursday that she expected an international investigation into how the woman, who visited Iran, picked up the coronavirus.
She said health officials are looking into when the patient's symptoms started, to help determine if they need to notify those who travelled with her on the same aircraft. The patient is recovering in isolation at home.
Her diagnosis is considered presumptive until confirmed by the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg.
There are five confirmed cases in B.C. and one presumptive case. There have been no deaths, and the first confirmed patient in B.C. has fully recovered.
On Friday, a letter from Fraser Health Medical Health Officer Dr. Ingrid Tyler said that officials were monitoring the patient and speaking with anyone who had contact with her.
The letter said that some contacts, "may have attended school in the region and are currently isolated." It did not say how many people attended school or if the contacts were the woman's family members.
'No public health risk'
Tyler emphasized that the contacts were not showing any signs of symptoms or illness while attending school and are currently well.
"There is no public health risks at schools in the region," said the letter. "There is also no evidence that novel coronavirus is circulating in the community."
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Fraser Health is not recommending testing or the assessment of anyone who may have been in contact with the latest case or any asymptomatic individual, no matter their travel or contact history.
The letter does remind people to follow proper hygiene, such as hand washing, during cold and flu season.
It also included other recommendations that have made by other health officials as the spread of COVID-19 increased, such as staying in isolation for 14 days if you come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the virus.
Globally, more than 78,000 people have been infected with coronavirus in 29 countries.