New presumptive coronavirus case diagnosed in Toronto

A woman travelling from China is the city's third presumptive case of novel coronavirus, but health officials say the risk of an outbreak remains low

A new presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Toronto, the province’s chief medical officer of health said on Sunday night.

In a press release, David Williams said a woman who arrived in Canada from China on February 21 has tested positive for the virus. Ontario has confirmed four cases, including three in Toronto.

The previous three cases – a Toronto couple and Western University student – are all resolved. 

After arriving in Toronto, the woman presented herself to North York General Hospital with an intermittent but improving cough following advice from Telehealth Ontario. She was isolated, tested and cared for and showed mild illness. She was discharged into self-isolation as per protocols.

Health officials say the risk is low that the woman was infectious based on her clinical assessment and history. She followed precautions while travelling to Toronto, wore a mask and had limited exposure to others.

“Because of all the proper protocols and procedures that are in place to contain this virus and exposure to others was limited, I want to assure the public that the risk to Ontarians remains low,” Williams in a statement. “Protecting the health and well-being of individuals and families across the province remains our top priority and we continue to vigilantly monitor for and contain any and all new cases.”

According to Ontario’s dedicated COVID-19 page, 498 patients have been tested in the province, all but four have tested negative and 12 are currently under investigation.

Other cases in Canada include a woman who travelled from Iran, which has 43 confirmed cases and a COVID-19 death toll of eight. The Canadian patient travelled to Vancouver with a Montreal layover on Valentine’s Day. She is British Colombia’s sixth confirmed case.

Iran, Italy and South Korea have been significantly impacted by the outbreak. South Korea has issued a “red alert” to give the government sweeping powers to contain the virus, which has spread to 602 people and caused six deaths. Italy has reported 152 cases and three deaths and locked down affected areas.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States has 14 confirmed cases after 414 have been tested. In China, where the outbreak originated, the death toll has hit 2,442 and the country has more than 77,000 confirmed cases.

While the worldwide cases have officials scrambling contain the outbreak, Canadians are more at risk of catching the flu. Around 3,000 Canadians die annually of influenza or flu-related complications.


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