The sixth and seventh presumptive cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia have now been confirmed. The sixth was confirmed last week when a passenger travelling from Iran via Montreal Trudeau Airport arrived in British Columbia on Valentine's Day. In a joint statement issued today, Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, and B.C.'s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed that the seventh case "was in close contact with the previously reported sixth case" announced on February 20, 2020.

MTL BLog reached out to B.C.'s Ministry of Health to confirm whether or not this "close contact" was, in fact, during either flight the sixth case took from Iran to Montreal or Montreal to Vancouver. We did not receive a response at the time of publication.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control also confirmed that both individuals remain in isolation "at home with support and monitoring from public health teams."

The sixth case was a woman in her 30s. This new case is a male in his 40s.

Other close contacts "have been identified and contacted by public health officials," the statement explains. "Those who may be at risk are now in isolation for 14 days and are being actively monitored for symptoms daily."

We reached out to Trudeau International Airport to learn more about what they were doing to maintain the health and safety of passengers with the knowledge that a confirmed case passed through the Montreal travel hub.

Specifically, what are staff at Trudeau being told to do if they were near the passengers of that specific flight?

A spokesperson let us know that both Montreal airports (Trudeau and Mirabel) "continue to work in close collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and its other partners and obviously follows the situation very closely. The team at YUL is ready to deploy any other measures that may be required by PHAC."

Other measures taken include "additional disinfectant gel dispensers," and an awareness campaign consisting of "messages on arrivals screens reminding passengers to inform a border service officer if they are experiencing flu symptoms."

Additional health screening questions have also been added to the electronic border kiosk found in the customs hall along with the availability of handouts for travellers. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada also has "screening officers on site."


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MTL Blog also inquired about the nature of the flight on which B.C.'s sixth case was a passenger. Reports indicate that the flight was operated by Air Canada, who did not respond to our questions before publication.

Details that remain unclear include the specifics of this passenger's layover, particularly the length of the wait in Montreal before the flight took off for Vancouver.

This recent coronavirus has left a lot of unanswered questions for travellers and health experts alike.

The government of Canada has currently listed China as a high-risk travel destination and is advising Canadians to "avoid all non-essential travel" to the country and to "avoid all travel" to the Hubei Province where the virus is believed to have originated.

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