Three new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in GTA, bringing Ontario’s total to 35

TORONTO — Three more cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Toronto by Ontario health officials, bringing the provincial total to 35 patients.

The latest patient is a woman in her 30s, who health officials say is a close contact of a previously confirmed case. She presented herself to Brampton Civic Hospital and remains in self-isolation at her home.

The two other patients are a man in his 80s and a woman in her 70s, who both recently travelled to Iran, officials said on Monday morning.

Both patients presented themselves to North York General Hospital and received care before being released. They currently remain at their homes in self-isolation.

Of the 35 cases of the virus confirmed in Ontario, four patients have fully recovered thus far. They are a Toronto couple in their 50s, a London, Ont. university student in her 20s and a Toronto woman in her 20s. They had all recently travelled to China.

All of the recovered patients have had two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Ontario health officials have continuously stated that COVID-19 is “not circulating locally,” but given the “global circumstances” they are working with city and health partners “to plan for the potential of local spread.”

Cases either related to travel or close contact

Speaking to reporters on Monday afternoon, health officials said they are conducting about 200 tests a day for COVID-19.

“It is an evolving situation,” Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said. “So far we are not finding any evidence of community transmission. All our cases either have a travel history or a history of close contact with someone who has travelled to a affected region.”

Of the 35 COVID-19 cases, Yaffe said that 16 had a travel history either directly to Iran or had a close contact who had recently travelled to the area. Five were part of a travel group in Egypt, four travelled to China, three returned from the United States, and two recently went to Italy.

Officials said that another patient returned from France and the final two were from a cruise where an outbreak of COVID-19 occurred.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said that residents should take precautions when travelling, especially on cruises.

“We’ve seen in B.C. where we’ve had cases spread to a nursing home and we understand there has been a death …We don’t know the details of that but it tells you that our at risk populations, if people are casual about their travel protection, casual about their contact protection, and are less than vigilant about staying home when they are ill, they can put that population at risk.”

In a statement issued on Monday, Peel Public Health said that one of their patients was on a flight from Frankfurt Airport to Toronto Pearson International Airport on March 7.

“The case has since been followed up on by Peel Public Health staff and the investigation has determined that the case may have been able to pass the virus to others during their return flight home,” officials said. “Passengers who were seated on the main deck of Lufthansa flight #DHL470 (Frankfurt to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport) in rows 1-4 (Business Class) on March 7, are directed to self-isolate and call Peel Public Health immediately at 905-799-7700 or at 905-584-2216 if in Caledon.”

Any other passengers aboard the flight should monitor for signs of cough, fever or respiratory issues, the health agency added, saying that symptoms could present themselves up until March 21.

First Canadian death reported in B.C.

On Monday, health officials confirmed that a resident of a care home in North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley is the first Canadian to die as a result of COVID-19. The man was in his 80s and had a number of underlying health issues.

Canada’s first apparent case of community transmission was reported in British Columbia on March 5.

Symptoms of the virus are similar to other respiratory infections, according to health officials, and can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

“There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, and there is no vaccine that protects against coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illnesses will recover on their own.”

Officials advise those requiring immediate medical attention to call 911 and mention your travel history and symptoms.

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