1st case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officials say
Published Wednesday, February 19, 2020 8:02AM PST Last Updated Wednesday, February 19, 2020 6:56PM PST
VANCOUVER -- B.C.'s first case of COVID-19 has fully recovered, health officials in B.C. announced Wednesday.
That first case was confirmed on Jan. 29. There are four other confirmed cases in the province at this time and they're all recovering at home.
B.C.'s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, gave the update during a news Wednesday. The province has committed to bi-weekly updates in an effort to keep people informed about current cases and testing.
To confirm the individual had recovered, two negative test results were required, Henry said.
"He is considered cured and no longer required to be in isolation and I think that's very good news," she said. "Our second, third and fourth cases are now all asymptomatic and we fully expect their testing will come back negative in the next few days as well. So all very positive in terms of recovery."
The fifth patient, who was identified on Friday, still has symptoms but is stable and is doing well. Henry also said that case was confirmed positive by the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg over the weekend. The patient is a woman in her 30s who lives somewhere in the Interior Health region. She had recently flown from Shanghai to Vancouver.
The man who has recovered wasn't given any particular medical treatment, Henry said.
"There is no specific treatment for this virus and all of the cases we've had in B.C. … have been relatively mild," she said, adding that it takes rest and good nutrition to allow the body to recover from the virus on its own.
Data released by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control indicates 524 people in the province had been tested for the virus as of Feb. 14. While there have only been five positive test results in the province, Henry said there have been many positive test results for influenza.
On Monday, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, who had been meeting with Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu and members of the Chinese community in Vancouver’s Chinatown, stressed the importance of regular provincial updates to help stop the spread of misinformation about the virus, and to calm fears about how the virus is transmitted.
"We are determined any time there is a positive case to let people know," Dix said. "People can be assured that will happen every single time."
Some local businesses in the Chinese community say business has dropped by as much as 70 per cent over the past few weeks, with some people fearful of leaving home.
Canadian passengers remain stranded on cruise ship
The province said last week it was monitoring data worldwide, including from China, as it responds to the outbreak of the virus.
That data may include cases on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan, where thousands of people have spent the last two weeks in quarantine, with the virus spreading on board.
There are more than 500 cases on the ship, including 43 Canadians.
While the two week quarantine period is now over, Canadian passengers have been told they need to stay on board until their delayed evacuation flight leaves on Friday.
"I understand the frustration, but we're working as quickly as we can," Hajdu told reporters on Tuesday.
"Obviously we have to consider the protection of Canadians back in Canada as well as the safety of Canadians that are stuck in these unfortunate situations."
Unlike previous evacuation flights heading to Canada, the plane is not expected to stop at Vancouver International Airport.
Local health officials were on standby for two previous evacuation flights and protocols were in place in case anyone on board became ill during the trip and needed medical attention once they touched down on Canadian soil.
The evacuees from the ship are being flown to Ontario where they will be screened at a Canadian Forces base in Trenton, Ont., before being transferred to a NAV Canada facility in Cornwall, Ont., for the additional 14 day quarantine period.