Ontario officials say tests confirm first presumptive coronavirus case

Ministry of Health

More Toronto residents are wearing face masks. But will they help protect you from getting the coronavirus?

The province's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams confirmed the case Monday morning, describing the patient as the wife of Ontario's first victim, a man in his 50s now recovering in Toronto's Sunnybrook hospital.

Public health officials said the woman's husband, a man in his fifties, had mild symptoms on his flight from Guangzhou, China to Toronto.

The presence of the coronavirus is said to be "presumptive" until the Winnipeg National Microbiology Lab confirms the Ontario lab test, making it official.

Ontario's Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Barbara Yaffe says this isn't a surprise since the virus transmits through close human-to-human contact.

Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday it had not recorded any new confirmed cases of a new coronavirus overnight since its last update of five, and said as many as 110 potential cases were under investigation.

So far, 80 people have died from the novel coronavirus and around 2,744 people in China are infected.

Still, officials said they were taking all precautions to keep people safe, interviewing all those who were in contact with the man between Wednesday, when he landed in Toronto, and Thursday, when he went to hospital.

"Handwashing is more effective than face masks with this particular virus, particularly if you're not infected", he said. A total of 17 cities in China are on lockdown, limiting the movement of more than 50 million people during what is normally the world's busiest travel period due to the week-long Lunar New Year holiday. But in late 2002, a coronavirus named severe acute respiratory syndrome erupted in southern China, causing a severe pneumonia that rapidly spread to other countries.

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Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health, commented while at a news conference together with other public health officials.

What happened: Health Canada is not answering questions on exactly how many health and safety workers, or quarantine officials, are based at Canadian airports but it is promising that it will deploy more officials at airports later this week.

News of Canada's first coronavirus patient came on Saturday as authorities around the world grappled with the new type of virus that originated in China but has since spread. Many large public events and gatherings have been cancelled, while a number of major tourist sites including The Forbidden City and Shanghai Disneyland have closed until further notice. "We are in contact with and providing assistance to Canadians now on the ground", Champagne said in a statement.

They say the wife of the man who became the first case of the disease in Canada also tested positive for the virus.

Cases of coronaviruses have, however, already been detected in the US, France, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and Nepal.

Gandhi says that while masks may have helped ward off the spread of SARS during the deadly 2003 outbreak, preliminary research indicates the same won't be true of the current virus.

Symptoms of the coronavirus can be quite similar to those associated with flu and colds - a fever and/or cough, along with difficulty breathing.

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