Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in British Columbia:
“We are announcing one new case of COVID-19 in B.C., for a total of nine cases in British Columbia. The individual affected is a resident of the Fraser Health region, unrelated to any previously announced case. The patient is in isolation at home with support and monitoring from public health teams.
“The patient has been confirmed positive based on BC Centre for Disease Control testing. The individual is male, in his 50s and recently returned to Canada from Iran.
“Fraser Health is actively investigating; close contacts have been identified and contacted by public health officials. Those who may be at risk are in self-isolation for 14 days and being actively monitored for symptoms.
“While the risk of spread of COVID-19 within British Columbia remains low at this time, we continue widespread testing by screening British Columbians and travellers with symptoms, along with their close contacts, to identify cases of COVID-19 early.
“The most important measures people can take today are to proactively prevent the transmission of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19.
“We ask all British Columbians to stay home and away from others if you or your family are sick. We recommend cleaning your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve and disposing of tissues appropriately. To further contain transmission, we also recommend suspending usual greetings such as handshakes, hugs and kisses.
“For you and your family, similar to how you may need to care for someone with influenza, you want to ensure you have sufficient food, medications and support in place to stay home for a number of days. These are normal preparations when someone in your family is ill – there is no requirement for British Columbians to stockpile supplies.
“For employers, we recommend increasing cleaning and hand hygiene availability, in addition to thinking about how to manage absenteeism through steps such as remote working or virtual meetings.
“Schools should be increasing cleaning and hand hygiene, educating students on respiratory etiquette, in addition to putting mechanisms in place to support students who may be away for extended periods.
“Gathering large numbers of people together can increase the risk of transmission. Event organizers should ask all participants to stay away if they are sick, returning from affected areas or have underlying health conditions that may be impacted by respiratory illness. Organizers should also complete a risk assessment considering what is happening in the local community and who may attend the event. Local public health teams can assist with this assessment.
“British Columbians with upcoming travel plans should continue to monitor the Government of Canada travel site for the latest travel advisories: www.travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories
“Travellers should understand that as global efforts to contain COVID-19 continue, the availability of health care services in some areas may be limited and travel restrictions may be put in place suddenly.
“We are asking all travellers returning from Iran and China to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return home to Canada. All other travellers who are returning to, or visiting, B.C. from outside Canada should monitor themselves and their children closely for symptoms and if any arise, limit their contact with others and call 811. This is an important way to reduce the possibility of transmission of illness to others.”
For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19
For more information and latest updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit the website: http://www.bccdc.ca/