Second presumptive case of Wuhan coronavirus identified in B.C.
VANCOUVER -- The second coronavirus patient identified in British Columbia is a woman in her 50s who has family visiting from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the patient fell ill a few days ago, and is being kept at home in isolation along with her visiting relatives.
Henry said the patient's family members left China before the country imposed travel restrictions in an effort to contain the spread of the virus, but that "they were also very conscious of the outbreak and were minimizing their contact with people outside the home."
The local health authority, Vancouver Coastal Health, is already in the process of tracing the family's recent contacts so they can monitor for additional infections.
B.C.'s second coronavirus case is considered presumptive, meaning a test at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control came back positive but it still needs to be confirmed at the National Microbiology Lab.
"Samples have been sent there and I fully expect they will come back positive as well," Henry said.
The province's first coronavirus patient was identified last week as a man in his 40s who recently returned from a trip to China that included time in Wuhan.
Officials don't believe he was contagious during his flight home and said he only had close contact with a few people 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.
When it comes to determining when patients can be considered healthy and no longer contagious, Henry said officials are following the protocols recommended by the World Health Organization. That means waiting until people stop exhibiting symptoms, and testing nasal swabs for the virus two times 24 hours apart.
"That's a way that we can tell that they're no longer shedding the virus in their respiratory secretions," Henry said.
Earlier on Tuesday, the WHO confirmed the coronavirus is still not considered a pandemic. While the virus has spread to more than 30 countries, it has not affected enough people to warrant that label.
Dr. Henry said the health emergency is still "very much focused on China," which is making a massive effort to contain the disease.
"The efforts that are being put in place to restrict and try and prevent transmission in China are more extensive than we've seen, ever," she added.
More than 20,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide and the virus has been blamed in more than 400 deaths.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Alyse Kotyk
A previous version of this article incorrectly reported the World Health Organization had labelled the coronavirus situation a pandemic. The WHO designates pandemics when there are outbreaks on at least two continents.