VANCOUVER — A second presumptive case of coronavirus has been identified in B.C., health officials announced Tuesday.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the latest patient is a woman in her 50s who had contact with visitors from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak. She became ill a few days ago.
“This case is not unexpected – it tells us that our system is working,” Henry told reporters.
A local test for the coronavirus came back positive on Monday night, but Henry said the case will not be confirmed until the results are replicated by federal health officials.
She said B.C. health workers are already in the process of tracing the patient’s contacts so they can monitor them for infections.
B.C.’s first case of the coronavirus was confirmed last week in a man in his 40s who recently returned from a trip to China that included time in Wuhan.
Officials said they do not believe he was contagious during his flight from China to Vancouver International Airport and said he was only exposed to a few close contacts once he arrived back in B.C.
Both of the patients live in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, which includes Vancouver, Richmond and the North Shore.
On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a global health emergency.
This is a developing story. It will be updated throughout the day.
Previous story: Health officials in B.C. are set to give an update on the new coronavirus Tuesday afternoon.
The provincial ministry of health has committed to giving regular, bi-weekly updates on coronavirus. Tuesday’s update is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in Vancouver.
Last Friday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said 114 samples have been tested in the province, but only one had come back positive so far.
During that update, Henry said the average incubation period of the virus is around five days and generally no more than 10, so people who travelled to China before travel restrictions were in place could start showing symptoms around this time.
“We are now at the point where people who have travelled to B.C. and to Canada who are incubating this disease may start showing symptoms,” she said.
As a result, Henry said health officials are being “very vigilant in B.C.,” adding that they have a “very low threshold for testing.”
The province’s first presumptive positive case was announced by Health Minister Adrian Dix and Henry on Jan. 28. Additional testing done in Winnipeg later confirmed a positive result.
The first patient in B.C. is in his 40s and had recently returned to Metro Vancouver from a trip to China, which included time in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the outbreak.
He lives somewhere in the area covered by Vancouver Coastal Health, with includes Vancouver, Richmond and the North Shore.
Health officials said the man was not believed to be contagious on his flight from China to YVR and said he was exposed to only a few close contacts once he arrived back in B.C. Those contacts are also being monitored by health officials as the man remains in isolation at home.
On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a global health emergency. More than 20,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide and it has led to over 400 deaths.
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