Health officials have confirmed four new cases of coronavirus in Ontario, involving three men and one woman.
The men are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, while the woman is in her 70s.
Three of the latest cases are in York Region while the other is in Toronto. The confirmation comes a day after three other positive cases were confirmed in the province, one of them also in York Region.
Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s medical officer of health, said on Sunday that one of the patients — the man in his 40s — is the husband of the region’s first patient announced on Saturday — a 34-year-old woman. The man travelled with his wife to Iran and back to Canada.
“This is related to travel to Iran,” Kurji said.
“In his case, while he accompanied his wife and toddler, he didn’t develop any symptoms at all until after arrival in Canada and whilst he was in isolation.
“So we arranged for his testing, which is something that we mentioned yesterday, and those test results have come back positive,” Kurji added.
The next case is a man in his 50s, a Toronto resident who is temporarily residing in the city of Vaughan.
“He is the brother of one of Toronto’s recently reported cases who had also travelled to Iran, arriving at Pearson on Feb. 25,” Kurji said.
The man had been assessed and tested at Mackenzie Health, a Richmond Hill, Ont., hospital, on Friday, Feb. 28. Kurji said the man is in self-isolation and doesn’t pose a risk to the community.
Kurji said the third case in York Region is a woman in her 70s, from Newmarket, who is a contact of the positive case in Toronto who is believed to have contracted the virus in Egypt.
Meanwhile, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, said a third man in his 60s — who returned from Iran on Sunday, Feb. 23 — presented himself to North York General Hospital’s emergency department on Friday.
The man informed the hospital of a cough and recent travel history.
Williams said the man was assessed and discharged home on the same day.
“As per protocols, he went into self-isolation where he remains with minimal contact with others. Toronto Public Health is actively engaged in contact tracing and case management,” Williams said in a news release.
Today’s new cases bring the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 15, though the first three patients have since been cleared of the virus.
The overall Canadian total rose to 24.
Risk to York Region residents continues to remain low
The new cases bring the total case number for York Region to four, but health officials are assuring residents there is no need for alarm.
“York Region Public Health is actively following up on all close contacts of these positive cases. Individuals that were not in direct or close contact with these individuals are not considered at risk of becoming infected,” said Patrick Casey, a spokesperson for the Regional Municipality of York.
“The risk to York Region residents of COVID-19 continues to remain low and there is no evidence of community spread within York Region.”
Casey said York Region Public Health continues to collaborate with local hospitals, emergency services and other health agencies to ensure prompt reporting and follow up of all individuals who may require testing for COVID-19.
‘Virus is not circulating locally,’ Williams says
Williams said that as a result of the coordinated efforts of the health-care and public health system, all individuals who have tested positive have been quickly assessed and isolated.
“At this time, the virus is not circulating locally. However, given the global circumstances, Ontario is actively working with city and health partners to plan for the potential of local spread.” Williams said.
“The province continues to carefully monitor this situation and encourage residents to stay informed by regularly reviewing credible information sources.”
Williams will provide an update on the situation at a media briefing on Monday at 3 p.m. ET at Queen’s Park.