Skip to main content

Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

This web page will continue to be updated as new information becomes available on the status of cases in British Columbia.

The symptoms of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), which can include fever and cough, are similar to other respiratory infections, including influenza. As a result, individuals who have travelled to mainland China and may simply have the flu or other common infections are being tested out of an abundance of caution and in line with British Columbia's robust detection protocols. This means that most individuals who are tested are unlikely to be infected with Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

Key facts about Coronavirus Disease

  • The risk of novel coronavirus transmission continues to remain low for residents of British Columbia
  • If you think you have the symptoms of novel coronavirus, please stay at home and call 8-1-1

Coronavirus Disease Frequently Asked Questions

  • On December 31, 2019, health authorities in Wuhan, China, reported a cluster of atypical viral pneumonia cases associated with stallholders at a market selling seafood and live animals in the city.

  • On January 9, 2020, the World Health Organization reported the cases were linked to a new type of novel coronavirus. The WHO has officially named the illnesses from this virus Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

  • The number of cases linked to this outbreak is changing quickly and public health authorities are monitoring the situation closely,

  • Overall, about 43,100 cases have been reported worldwide with 1018 deaths as of Feb. 12, 2020. The vast majority of these cases are in Mainland China with most of these cases in Wuhan. Outside of China, cases have been reported in more than 20 countries, including Japan, Republic of Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, United States, Canada, France, Finland, Germany and United Arab Emirates. The ease and extent of person-to-person spread is still being determined. 

  • The spectrum of illness has been mostly mild to moderate, with a few experiencing more critical illness.

  • The risk to Canadians is still low.

Check the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) bulletins on emerging respiratory viruses for current information. General information on the Coronavirus Disease is also available from the BCCDC. Check the World Health Organization website for situation updates on novel Coronavirus Disease.

 

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses in humans, ranging from less-severe disease, such as the common cold, to more severe disease such as MERS and SARS. Some transmit easily from person to person, while others do not.

 

Coronaviruses are generally associated with mild to moderate upper respiratory illness, (including dry cough, fever, sore throat, and headache) and gastrointestinal illnesses (nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea) in humans. 

Animals are the source of many strains and may also be afflicted.

 

The ease and extent to which the Coronavirus Disease can transmit from human to human is yet to be determined. Information to date is that transmission from person to person occurs only after symptoms develop when infected people cough or sneeze and produce droplets.

However, the risk to Canadians remains low.

 

Public Health experts are quite confident that Coronavirus Disease is spread through droplet transmission, which is consistent with all other coronaviruses. There is no reported evidence of airborne transmission. 

 

While we are still learning about this new virus, we don't have evidence that people without any symptoms pose a risk to others.

 

If you have been travelling and you become ill or become ill after you return home, please tell your health care provider about your 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 fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. If you wish to visit your primary care provider's office, a walk-in clinic or public health unit, please call them before your visit so they can prepare for your arrival. You can also call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered nurse to help answer any health-related questions. 

 

As of February 4, 2020, the Public Health Agency of Canada has implemented new recommendations for newly arrived travellers returning from Hubei province (including Wuhan city), China. Newly arrived travellers are now advised to closely monitor themselves for symptoms and to avoid contact with others for 14 days after leaving Hubei province. This includes remaining home from school, work and avoiding crowded public places.

This recommendation was made out of an abundance of caution as the number of reported cases of infection in Hubei province has increased. Call 8-1-1 if you develop symptoms.

 

Currently, there is no specific treatment for Coronavirus Disease. Most people with Coronavirus Disease will recover on their own. The symptoms for Coronavirus Disease have included mostly mild and on occasion severe respiratory illness.

 

We are still learning about the clinical course of the virus. So far, most people have not had severe disease and there have been few deaths outside China. Most people recover and most of the deaths have been reported to be elderly people or people with compromised immune systems.‎

 

At this time, the risk to residents in the VCH region remains low. There is no known spread of the virus in the community. We are not asking schools or other public buildings to close or have the public take any special precautions beyond the usual measures recommended to prevent other cold or flu viruses during the winter period.

 

Yes. All Vancouver Coastal Health hospitals and health care facilities are operating as usual. Staff are well prepared and have protocols in place to ensure any patient that presents to a hospital with symptoms of Coronavirus Disease does not pose a risk to others.

 

The best protection is to follow proper hygiene etiquette during cold and flu season. This includes proper hand washing with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing (such as coughing into your elbow) and staying home when you are sick. We do not recommend wearing a mask in the community, as surgical masks are not designed for this purpose and are unlikely to provide significant protection.‎

 

The government of Canada is responsible for travel advisories for Canadians. Travellers are encouraged to consult the Travel Health Notice for China on travel.gc.ca regularly as recommendations may change over the course of your travel as new information becomes available.  Canadians should always tell their health care provider about their travel history if they become ill after returning to Canada. 

 
 Coronavirus Disease statement – February 12, 2020

On Feb. 11, the World Health Organization officially named cases related to novel coronavirus as Coronavirus Disease, or COVID-19. There have been no new cases of COVID-19 in Canada, British Columbia and the VCH region since the Feb. 7 announcement. To date, there have been four cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and seven total in Canada. Vancouver Coastal Health public health officials continue to follow-up with all close contacts to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.

The risk of the virus spreading within British Columbia continues to be low. There is no ongoing risk posed to the public from cases identified to date. All necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection in our communities. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends travellers returning from the Hubei province (including Wuhan city) of China closely monitor themselves for symptoms and avoid contact with others for 14 days after leaving Hubei province. This includes remaining home from school or work and avoiding crowded public places.

VCH Medical Health Officers, our provincial partners and the Public Health Agency of Canada continue to actively monitor the situation regarding COVID-19, which has been responsible for an outbreak centred in Wuhan, China, as well as imported cases in other countries. The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to reassure the public that the risk to Canadians is low and that our health care systems are well positioned to identify and manage any further possible cases.

For more information and latest updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit the website: http://www.bccdc.ca/

What you need to know

  • The risk of the virus spreading within British Columbia remains low
  • There is no known transmission of the virus in the community
  • People without symptoms do not pose a risk
  • Proper hand washing, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and staying home when you're sick is the best protection
  • If you have returned from the Hubei province (including Wuhan city) in China, monitor for symptoms and avoid contact with others for 14 days after leaving Hubei province
  • If you have health concerns, please call 8-1-1

Respiratory infection caused by Coronavirus Disease
llnesses associated with the new Coronavirus Disease, named COVID-19, are similar to several respiratory illnesses and include fever, dry cough, sore throat and headache. Most cases are considered mild to moderate with a subset experiencing more severe illness with shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Deaths have been reported among about two to four per cent of detected cases in China although it is likely that the actual risk of such severe outcomes is lower given milder cases are less likely to be detected.

Cases were initially linked to exposure to live animals at a seafood market in Wuhan City but the substantial increase in cases thereafter is due to human-to-human transmission of the virus. Other respiratory viruses can be spread from a cough or sneeze or from touching something an infected person has touched and then touching your eyes, mouth or nose. The main ways and efficiency of COVID-19 spread still require better understanding.

Health authorities in China have taken prevention and control measures to prevent the spread of infection and are continuing to investigate the source of 2019-nCOV. The risk to Canadians is considered low at this time, however, the threat is being taken seriously. 

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:

  • Fever

  • Coughing 

  • Difficulty breathing 

  • Pneumonia in both lungs. 

For more information and latest updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit the website: http://www.bccdc.ca/

For people seeking travel advice on this novel infection in Wuhan, China, please refer to the latest Travel Notice from the Government of Canada. Timely updates are also available from the BC Centre for Disease ControlHealth Canada and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Government of British Columbia Statements

Feb 14: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0036-000284

Feb 11: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0028-000258

Feb 7: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0026-000246

Feb 6: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0025-000236

Feb 4: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0023-000222

Feb. 3: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0020-000210

Jan. 31: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0018-000193

Jan. 29: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0016-000176

Jan. 28: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0015-000151

Jan. 25: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0011-000129

Jan. 21: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020HLTH0010-000102

For health professionals:

Physician's updates

February 12, 2020 - Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov): Updated Guidance for Testing

January 31, 2020 - Novel coronavirus (2019 nCoV) update

January 24, 2020 - Interim Guidance for Suspect Cases of Novel Coronavirus

January 21, 2020 - Atypical Viral Pneumonia Cluster Identified in China

Medical Health Officers letters to partners

February 7, 2020 -  Letter to parents and guardians

Feb 7, 2020 - Update for school administrators

January 28, 2020 - Novel coronavirus letter



SOURCE: Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) ( )
Page printed:

Copyright © Vancouver Coastal Health. All Rights Reserved.