Ontario investigates if new COVID-19 case is evidence of community spread

Ontario health officials say they are investigating whether one of the province’s newest cases of COVID-19 is evidence of community spread.

The recent case is a man from Sudbury, Ont., who attended the Prospectors and Developers Association in Canada Convention on March 2 and 3 in Toronto. The conference attracts about 23,000 attendees from more than 130 countries, according to organizers.

The man in his 50s contracted the virus and is at home in self-isolation. Officials have not said if he had recently travelled internationally.

Based on their investigations, health officials have found that the man was not infectious while attending the conference in Toronto.

“To me, this is not a case of community transmission,” said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health. She further added that although it’s unclear where exactly the man acquired COVID-19, it’s likely the man acquired it while at the conference where about 23,000 people were in attendance.

“Our working hypothesis at this time is that this individual was exposed to COVID-19 while at the conference,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Sudbury & District Medical Officer of Health in a statement.

Sutcliffe advised those who attended to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after leaving the conference. Officials say organizers had consulted with Toronto Public Health about protective measures ahead of the conference.

In a statement, Toronto Public Health said that large gatherings with “transient interactions,” including walking by or briefly being in the same room as a person who may be infected with COVID-19, are considered low risk.

Premier Ford and Prime Minister Trudeau attended


Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau both attended the prominent mining conference on one of the same days as the new patient.

The Ontario government says Premier Doug Ford is in good health and not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms after attending the conference.

A spokesperson for Ford said Sudbury health officials have not yet contacted the premier during their case tracking process.

“Premier Ford is in good health and has experienced none of the symptoms related to COVID-19,” said spokesperson Ivana Yelich in an email.

The new patient brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario to 41.


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