As you have discovered by now, on Tuesday, January 28th, the Ministry of Health announced a confirmed case of the coronavirus case in B.C., identified in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. The latest count as of Friday, February 6th, there are now 4 confirmed cases in B.C.
The first patient, a 40-year-old man who regularly travels to China, is currently in isolation at home and lives in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. He had recently travelled to Wuhan city, which is considered the epicentre of the outbreak.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE; the new coronavirus is not as infectious as other viruses like influenza or measles and that it’s not something that people can get from “casual contact.”
As Stated In A Report; “We know that the receptors for the virus are quite deep in the lungs, so you have to inhale enough of the virus that it can actually bind to those receptors deep in the lungs,” she said. “Coronavirus, in general, is in larger droplets, so these are droplets that fall quickly out of the air. So you have to be in relatively close contact with somebody to be able to inhale those viruses if they cough or sneeze.”
The most important things you can do is wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth when you cough and stay away from others if you’re sick.
“If you’re touching something that has droplets on it with the virus in it, as long as you clean your hands before you touch your face or your mouth, you’re not going to be at risk of getting that virus in your body,” she said. “It’s not something that comes in through the skin. It needs to get into your mucous membranes and breathed into your lungs.”
Prevention And Screening Measures
In a news release from the ministry of health, the province said the general public doesn’t necessarily need to take extra measures to protect themselves from the virus.
“It is not necessary for the general public to take special precautions beyond the usual measures recommended to prevent other common respiratory viruses during the winter period,” the news release said.
“Regular hand washing, coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately and avoiding contact with sick people are important ways to prevent the spread of respiratory illness generally.”
Coronavirus Signs And Symptoms
If you have been travelling and you become ill or become ill after you return home, tell your health care provider about recent travel and your symptoms. You should also tell your provider if you had close contact with a sick person or had another high-risk exposure such as direct contact with animals.
Reported signs and symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Pneumonia in both lungs.
Information For Travellers
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued a Travel Health Notice for individuals travelling to China to avoid all travel to the province of Hubei, including the cities of Wuhan, Huanggang and Ezhou, due to the imposition of heavy travel restrictions in order to limit the spread of a novel coronavirus. The alert also recommends travellers take usual precautionary measures:
- Wash hands regularly
- Avoid contact with live animals such as at farms and markets.
- Avoid eating raw animals.
- Avoid surfaces with animal secretions such as blood and droppings.
- Go to the Government of Canada for the latest travel alerts.
Information For Travellers Returning To Vancouver
The Public Health Agency of Canada has implemented measures over the coming weeks to detect and contain the infection. These measures include messaging on arrivals screens at the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver international airports reminding travellers from Wuhan to inform a border service officer if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms, and an additional health screening question to be added to electronic kiosks.
British Columbians should always tell their health care providers about their recent travel if they become ill after returning to Canada.
Health Information For Health Providers
Health providers should ask the patient presenting with respiratory illness about recent travel. To facilitate early detection and containment, clinicians should notify their local medical health officer as soon as possible about patients presenting with:
- Fever and acute respiratory illness, with or without pneumonia
- Recent travel to Hubei Province (includes Wuhan City), China within 14 days prior to symptom onset
- Another potential relevant exposure such as close contact with someone who was ill and had recently travelled to Hubei Province (includes Wuhan City), China.
BCCDC (British Columbia Centre for Disease Control) is providing regular updates and information on the situation and detection and containment measures to health care providers including medical health officers, infectious disease specialists, medical microbiologists, emergency department physicians, public health nurses, infection control practitioners, airport authorities and others.
Check the BCCDC bulletins on emerging respiratory viruses for current information.
Loving Home Care Services Advice
At this stage, we recognize that the situation is rapidly evolving, we suggest:
- Monitoring the situation before any travel to China
- Maintain good hygiene practices including frequent washing of hands – carry hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face
- As much as reasonable, keep your distance from those exhibiting obvious signs of illness
- If you become sick or think you might be sick while travelling, contact your nearest clinic and notify us directly.
Nevertheless, experts stress the need to be vigilant and prepared for signs of infection. If you have mild cold-like symptoms, health officials encourage you to stay home while sick and avoid close contact to help protect others. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and be sure to throw used tissues in the trash and wash your hands. Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
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