B.C. woman diagnosed with COVID-19 after returning from Iran


B.C.’s health officials are set to share an update on novel coronavirus.


Genome BC / PNG

Another case of the coronavirus has been diagnosed in British Columbia.

The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, says a woman in her 30s has been diagnosed with COVID-19 after returning this week from Iran. The woman lives in the Fraser Health region.

“Our continued view is that the risk to B.C. is low, we are acting with vigilance,” she said.

Henry said staff were surprised by a new case linked to Iran, which only recently reported it had five cases of COVID-19 and two deaths.

“That triggered interest from people around the world,” Henry said. “I expect there will be an investigation to determine where the exposure occurred.”

Iran has reported at least 20 other people in various areas who are being tested, Henry said.  “And we’ll be linking with them to see where this person had been in Iran — we’re tracing her travel all the way back to Iran.”

Henry says the woman’s case is relatively mild and a number of her close contacts are in isolation.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the patient’s samples have been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Man., for final confirmation.

This brings the number of cases of COVID-19 in B.C. to six.

“So far in B.C. all of our cases have been relatively mild and managed mostly at home,” she said.

Henry said earlier that four of the five people diagnosed with the virus were symptom free.

The fifth person, a woman in her 30s who returned from Shanghai, China, is in isolation at her home in B.C.’s Interior.

Henry said over 500 people have been tested for the virus in B.C. and many of those tested positive for the flu.

“We’re in containment,” she explained, adding that because many cases are mild, the virus can be transmitted when people few symptoms.

“It makes it very difficult to contain the virus. We’re not out of the woods yet.”

Three cases of the virus have also been confirmed in Ontario.

As of Thursday, the World Health Organization said there were 75,748 confirmed cases globally, with 548 new cases reported in the past 24 hours. The majority of those cases are in China, with 2,121 deaths recorded to date in the country.

Outside of China, there have been eight deaths across 26 countries. In Canada, there have only been eight cases to date, with only one case being transmitted outside of China. There have been no deaths due to COVID-19 in Canada.

— With files from Lynn Mitges, Stephanie Ip, and the Canadian Press

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