VANCOUVER — A man who was British Columbia's first case of the new coronavirus has fully recovered, is considered cured and no longer needs to be in isolation, the provincial health officer says.
Dr. Bonnie Henry said Wednesday two negative tests cleared the patient of COVID-19, and the results were confirmed at a national lab in Winnipeg.
The province's second, third and fourth patients who contracted the virus are also symptom-free and Henry expects their test results will come back negative as well.
The fifth case of COVID-19 was announced last week after a woman in her 30s returned from Shanghai, China, through Vancouver's airport before travelling by car to her home in the Interior.
That woman still has symptoms and is in stable condition in isolation at her home, Henry said.
The patient was wearing a mask while travelling and health officials are following a small number of people who had close contact with her.
Eight cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in Canada and most of them were people who had come from Hubei province in China, considered the epicentre for the illness.
Over 500 people have been tested for the virus in B.C., and many of them tested positive for influenza, Henry said, adding hand washing is the most effective way to prevent any of the viruses from spreading.
A new report by China's centre for disease control has provided more information on why some people get over the new virus as if it were a cold and others become ill or die, Henry said.
Most of the first 72,000 cases included older people with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease and 14 per cent of those who died from the disease were over age 80, she said.
"There were very few cases in people under the age of 19, less than 1,000 of the 72,000, and there were no serious illnesses and no deaths among young people," Henry said, adding that is similar to infection from other cornaviruses.
The majority of people were between the ages of 30 and 59 and about 80 per cent of them had mild cases, Henry said.
"That means the virus could be transmitted quite easily, from people with mild illness, and that's something we're also learning."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 19, 2020.