Ontario confirms three cases of COVID-19 Sunday, bringing provincial total to 31

Ontario identified two more people infected with COVID-19, the Ministry of Health said Sunday evening, raising the province’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases to 31.

One of the two new cases announced Sunday evening include a woman in her 60s who went to Scarborough Health Network-General Site’s emergency department on March 7, after returning from France on March 2.

The second is man in his 60s who presented himself to North York General Hospital’s emergency department March 7, after returning from Washington D.C on March 3, according to a written statement from the ministry.

“In both cases, the hospital took all necessary precautions and followed standard operating procedures, including testing and assessment,” the statement said.

The two new cases follow another case announced earlier on Sunday, of a woamn in her 40s who went to Sunnybrook Health Science Centre’s emergency department after returning from Colorado on March 2.

“The patient was discharged home the same day where she remains in self-isolation. Toronto Public Health is actively engaged in contact tracing and case management.”

Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, will provide an update to the public at his regularly scheduled 3 p.m. media briefing Monday at Queen’s Park.

In addition, the province will announce on Monday a new public notification protocol for its website that monitors coronavirus news.

Every day, now including weekends, the website will be updated twice at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., according to Hayley Chazan, spokesperson for Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott. Previously, it had been revised only on weekday mornings.

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Information about new positive cases will be more comprehensive, too. The province will now provide information, including age, gender of the individual, public health unit and hospital involved, any relevant travel history and whether the individual is at home in isolation or is hospitalized, Chazan told the Star in an email.

Of the 31 confirmed cases in Ontario, four have been resolved, with those patients having had two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart, according to the ministry’s Sunday statement.

The ministry also said that “at this time, the virus is not circulating locally” but added that “given the global circumstances, Ontario is actively working with city and health partners to plan for the potential of local spread.”

For those who feel they may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, the ministry advises following the same health protocols spelled out on its website for travellers returning from affected areas: contact your local public health unit or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-000, stay at home, and avoid close contact with others.

With files from Margaryta Ignatenko

Mary Ormsby

TORONTO STAR