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Coronavirus: B.C. develops diagnostic test


As the Chinese coronavirus sweeps Asia and slowly filters into Canada, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) announced on the weekend it has developed a diagnostic test.

And they are co-ordinating staff and supplies to ensure they are prepared to “quickly and accurately detect potential cases.”

In addition, health-care workers have been asked to be vigilant and take a travel history for anyone reporting respiratory symptoms.

“Anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, particularly if you have travelled to areas of China where the virus is active or been in contact with ill people from that area, should contact their health-care provider, local public health office or call 811,” read a joint statement Saturday by Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer.

“To date, there have been no cases of illness caused by the novel coronavirus in British Columbia and the overall risk to B.C. is still considered low.

“We know our colleagues in Ontario will continue to work with their local health officials and the federal health authorities to ensure every measure is taken to prevent the spread of this virus.

“We are closely watching the situation in Canada and globally, and are meeting regularly with our counterparts across the country to make sure we are prepared if cases arise in B.C.”

Health officials have flatly denied there’s a confirmed case of coronavirus at Richmond Hospital, despite rumours spreading like wildfire on Chinese social media site WeChat.

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) told the Richmond News on Thursday that there are no confirmed cases of the Chinese novel coronavirus in the province.

Ontario reported Monday that it now has two "presumptive positive" cases of the Wuhan coronavirus, a husband and his wife, who both travelled from that region of China.

Asked by the News if there were any cases being investigated for the potentially deadly disease, a spokesperson for the BCCDC said they can only “provide information on confirmed cases.”

British Columbians' risk of coronavirus remains low, according to the BCCDC.

On Monday, China is reporting 2,744 cases and 80 deaths, but it remains to be seen whether the virus is as dangerous as the common flu, which kills thousands every year in Canada alone.

Canadian doctors are urging concerned citizens to take the same sorts of precautions they would to avoid common illnesses, such as frequent hand-washing and coughing into the arm or sleeve rather than the hand.