After U.S. officials confirmed their first case of the coronavirus near Seattle on Jan. 21, Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) chief of staff Dr. Mark Masterson has outlined steps his staff are taking to ensure the virus doesn’t spread throughout the B.C. Interior.
Masterson said medical workers are taking a variety of precautions to ensure the virus doesn’t spread into communities.
“We are looking for fever and acute respiratory illness, along with anyone who recently travelled to Wuhan, China within 14 days prior to symptom onset,” said Masterson.
If a patient is found to have the coronavirus at an Interior Health hospital, Masterson said the patient will be kept in isolation.
Masterson said the virus hasn’t been recorded in Canada yet.
“Currently, there are no reports of confirmed cases of infection in Canada of this coronavirus and we are not aware of any cases involving Canadians overseas,” said Masterson.
“All of KGH’s Emergency Department staff and infection control practitioners are aware of the coronavirus and have protocols for patients who might be present with symptoms that could indicate a more serious illness.”
According to a joint statement released by Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, the risk to residents in the province is considered low.
International airports are also stepping up their efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Canada’s public health agency said message screens have been put up at Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver airports to inform passengers of what to do if they’re experiencing flu-like symptoms.
The BC Centre for Disease Contron said they’re also monitoring a recent outbreak of a respiratory illness linked to the coronavirus.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold; others found in bats, camels and other animals have evolved into more severe illnesses.
So far, 17 people have died from the virus and approximately 547 people have been infected.