Following a declaration from the World Health Organization (WHO) that the novel coronavirus has become a global emergency, the Ministry of Health in British Columbia has released an update on numbers in the province.
In an announcement made this morning from BC’s Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, he said that BC still remains to have only one confirmed case of the deadly virus. On top of the one confirmed case, however, the Province said that they have tested 114 samples for the disease.
The Ministry has committed to providing updates on the number of confirmed cases and tested samples each Friday moving forward. Updates are available on the BC Centre for Disease Control’s website.
“We want to reassure people that the risk of this virus spreading within British Columbia remains low at this time. All necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection. We have multiple systems in place to prepare for, detect and respond to prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases in the province,” said Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s provincial health officer, as part of a joint statement.
The Ministry also added in their statement that the public does not need to take any special precautions, beyond the usual disease prevention measures, at this time. The joint statement reinforces standard techniques such as regular handwashing, coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately and avoiding contact with sick people as ways to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Anyone who is concerned that 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 811. Translation services for 811 are available in more than 130 languages,” said the Government.
Looking beyond BC, the WHO has said the coronavirus has reached at least 18 countries with China reporting more than 9,600 cases, including 213 deaths.
The UN health agency defines an international emergency as an “extraordinary event” that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a co-ordinated response and Canada’s federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the global emergency status is about helping countries that don’t have health systems as strong as Canada.