A Toronto hospital is treating a patient suspected to be the first case of coronavirus in Canada.
Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the province’s associate chief medical officer of health, says a man in his 50s who had travelled to Wuhan, China – were the virus outbreak originated – returned to Toronto on Jan. 22 was taken to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital on Jan. 23 and is now in a negative pressure room.
According to Toronto Public Health, the patient is listed in stable condition.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, said the “risk to Ontarians is low” and the “system is operating as it should.”
“All appropriate infection prevention and control measures were followed by both paramedics and the hospital,” said Williams. “Toronto Public Health is conducting case and contact management and Ontario is in touch with our federal counterparts to help determine exposure to other individuals on the flights.”
Health officials say the man traveled from Pearson airport to a residence using private transportation. They add the man’s wife has not shown any symptoms of the disease at this point.
The safety and security of passengers and employees is our top priority. We continue to work in close collaboration with @GovCanHealth and @CanBorder to ensure that all proper measures are taken for all international arriving passengers. https://t.co/3WHUxKEP1I
— Toronto Pearson (@TorontoPearson) January 25, 2020
My statement on the first presumptive confirmed case of coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/DDDenJw4jT
— John Tory (@JohnTory) January 25, 2020
In China, the virus has infected more 1,200 people and killed 41, reports say.
In an effort to control the spread of the illness, the Chinese government has locked down the city of Wuhan, home to over 11 million people.
Travel has been banned to and from the central-Chinese city. The government has also banned most vehicle use, including private cars, in downtown areas starting Sunday, state media reported. Only authorized vehicles would be permitted, the reports said.
Australia and Malaysia reported their first cases Saturday – four each – and Japan, it’s third. France confirmed three cases Friday, the first in Europe, and the U.S. identified its second, a woman in Chicago who had returned from China.
The new virus comes from a large family of what are known as coronaviruses, some causing nothing worse than a cold. It causes cold and flu-like symptoms, including cough and fever, and in more severe cases, shortness of breath. It can worsen to pneumonia, which can be fatal in some cases.
Here are key things to know following the first presumptive positive case of the coronavirus in Toronto:
WHAT IS IT?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that most often cause mild-to-moderate upper respiratory tract illnesses including the common cold, but they can also lead to severe diseases. Some coronaviruses spread between animals, some pass between animals and people, and others go from people to people.
This new virus is different from the coronaviruses that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
WHAT ARE COMMON SYMPTOMS?
This new virus has non-specific symptoms including fever, cough and difficulty breathing.
Typically, coronavirus infections manifest as the common cold. Symptoms can include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat and fever. Young babies may contract gastrointestinal disease.
Severe cases involve pneumonia, kidney failure and even death.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SUSPECT INFECTION?
Consult your health care provider as soon as possible if you are worried about symptoms or have travelled to a region where severe coronaviruses are known to occur.
If you have mild cold-like symptoms, health officials encourage you to stay home while sick and avoid close contact to help protect others. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and be sure to throw used tissues in the trash and wash your hands. Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.
(Sources: Health Canada, Public Health Ontario, World Health Organization)
With files from The Canadian Press and Associated Press.
GTA private schools issue warning after parents say they were on same flight as coronavirus patient – CTV News
Two private schools in the Greater Toronto Area have expressed concerns after learning that some parents were on the same flight as a Toronto patient who was diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Ontario health officials confirmed on Saturday that a male in his 50s, who had recently travelled to Wuhan, China, had been hospitalized at Sunnybrook Hospital due to possible coronavirus, which is known as 2019-nCoV.
On Monday, officials said that the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg had confirmed the case and said the man’s wife, who was on the plane with him, may also have the illness.
Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said the case is “presumptive” and that the woman is in self-isolation at her home.
Earlier this week, the principal of Richmond Hill Montessori School (RMHS), located near Yonge Street and 16th Avenue, issued an “emergency order” asking any families who have travelled to China to keep their child home for 15 days after they return to Toronto.
“Kindly note, the same 15 day quarantine applies to any RHMS family who may have come in contact with individuals travelling to Toronto from China or any other countries or cities to be known to have confirmed Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) cases.”
On Sunday, the day after the first possible case of 2019-nCoV was made public, the principal issued a statement saying that a parent of a child at the school was on the same flight as both patients—China Southern Airlines flight CZ311.
“Since then, members of this family have been at RHMS despite our Emergency Order. This parent is not the person being held at Sunnybrook Hospital,” the letter said.
“Please be advised that although this parent was on the same flight, the family has informed us that this parent does not show any symptoms as of this time. We have been advised that this parent has quarantined themselves away from their immediate family and that the family has also quarantined themselves until Feb. 07, 2020 as a precaution.”
Toronto Montessori School (TMS), near Bayview Avenue and Highway 7, also released a message to parents on Sunday informing them that two separate parents were on flight CZ311.
“Both parents self-identified to York Region Public Health and are in close communication with them for their recommendations,” the school said. “As a precautionary measure, they will be quarantining themselves for the recommended 14-day period to ensure the safety of themselves and others.”
The children of both parents will be kept home as a precaution, the school said.
The York Region District School Board has said that they are following the advice of health experts, who have advised them that “additional protocols at schools are not necessary and that the risk to Ontarians remains low.”
The Toronto District School Board has not posted an update on their website about the coronavirus since Jan. 24.
Speaking with reporters on Monday morning, Ontario health officials said that if parents are concerned, they should contact their primary care doctor or local public health agencies for advice.
“There are still lots of repertory illnesses out there. There is a lot of influenza-type illness,” Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said. “Our rules are still the same. If your child is ill, keep them at home.”
“The same things that schools do now … cleaning toys and stuff like that, is what they do on a regular basis especially around this time of flu season. It’s business as usual.”
Over the weekend, the principal of Somerset Academy, a private school in Markham, sent a letter home to parents saying that families who travelled to Asia will not be permitted onto the property for a minimum of 15 days from the date they landed in Canada.
School officials asked for proof in the form of boarding passes or stamped documents before kids are allowed in the classroom.
Meanwhile, other parents have signed an online petition titled “stop the potential spreading of the novel coronavirus in schools of York Region.”
In the petition, the author recommends schools track students who recently travelled to China and asks those families to stay isolated for at least 17 days.
More than 2,700 cases of 2019-nCoV have been confirmed around the world and at least 80 people have died in China as a result of the illness.
Wife of Canada's first coronavirus patient tests positive; 19 under investigation – Nasdaq
No reported cases of coronavirus in Ottawa – CBC.ca
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is bracing for the arrival of coronavirus, but so far no cases have been reported in this city.
Health officials have identified a second presumptive case in Toronto after the wife of a man believed to be Ontario’s first presumptive case of the virus began showing similar symptoms. Officials say the woman has been in “self-isolation” since arriving in Toronto, while her husband remains in stable condition in hospital.
Officials continue to identify people who may have come into contact with the couple on their flight from China, but OPH says it hasn’t been informed of any in Ottawa.
According to Ottawa’s medical officer of health, health officials here are already taking precautions.
“When people present with a respiratory illness … they are screened for their travel history, especially considering any contact with the Wuhan city or provinces nearby in China, any contact with ill people who have been in Wuhan,” Dr. Vera Etches told CBC.
“People are getting the message: when they return from a country or area that is affected, to monitor themselves for symptoms of a respiratory infection.”
Symptoms includes fever, cough, runny nose and shortness of breath, Etches said.
Etches said anyone who believe they may have been exposed to coronavirus and is showing symptoms should phone ahead before arriving at the emergency room.
“We’ll walk them through the process … if it looks like they should be tested for the new coronavirus,” Etches said.
So far, no tests have been ordered in Ottawa.
“Right now, this is very low-risk still for transmission of this new virus in Canada. So, it’s very unlikely that someone would come in contact with the virus here,” she said.
Nevertheless, Etches cautions people to wash their hands frequently, and to refrain from touching their eyes and nose. Viruses are often contracted by coming into contact with mucous membranes.
There have been reports of people in Ottawa buying up medical masks, likely to ship to family in China, but according to Etches, “here in Ottawa, there is no reason to wear a mask if you’re well.”
Wearing a mask likely won’t prevent a healthy person from getting sick anyway, Etches said.
“They’re not fitted. Air can get around them. People touch them, they touch their eyes, the environment. It gives a false sense of security. So really, the main thing is, keep your hands clean.”
Etches also urges people to check reputable sources, such as the Ottawa Public Health website, for up-to-date information on coronavirus.
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