B.C. now has four confirmed cases of novel coronavirus

VANCOUVER — Two more cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in British Columbia, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.

The cases, which brings B.C.’s total number of cases to four, had been previously reported as presumptive cases on Thursday. On Saturday, the BC CDC updated that information to report those cases had been confirmed by the National Microbiology Lab.

The latest coronavirus patients are visitors from China’s Hubei province and have been staying with a B.C. woman who was identified as the province’s second coronavirus patient early last week.

Provincial health officials said on Thursday that they are “quite confident” the woman caught the coronavirus from one of her visitors.

The two people whose cases have now been confirmed (B.C.’s third and fourth novel coronavirus patients) are a man and a woman who are both in their 30s.

The three cases and all close contacts remain in isolation at home, according to B.C.’s Ministry of Health.

At a press conference on Thursday, B.C.’s chief health officer, Bonnie Henry, dismissed speculation that the B.C. woman could have been infected while her visitors were asymptomatic. She said the suspected source of the infection had been suffering “relatively mild” symptoms and had not sought medical attention.

In a statement on Thursday, Health Minister Adrian Dix called for tolerance and for British Columbians to come together to help one another.

Health officials continue to stress that the best way to prevent respiratory illnesses is to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, cough or sneeze into your elbow sleeve, dispose of tissues properly and stay home if you are sick.

The ministry is asking anyone who has recently visited Hubei province, or had close contact with people who had visited the region recently, to call public health officials and isolate themselves for 14 days.

If British Columbia residents believe they may have been exposed to the coronavirus or are experiencing symptoms, they can call 811 for health information. Translation services are available.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Andrew Weichel.

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