Waterloo region hit with first coronavirus case, but don’t worry say health officials

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Photo by Yukang Ji

The Region of Waterloo Public Health on Thursday, March 5, 2020, confirmed the first case of COVID-19 also known as Novel Coronavirus in the region.

The patient is a resident of Waterloo, a female in her fifties who had recently travelled to Italy. 

She showed mild symptoms on her flight from Milan to Lisbon and then from Lisbon to Toronto on March 3, 2020. 

The woman took private transportation to Grand River Hospital for testing and assessment after arriving at Pearson International Airport. 

Hospital staff had been preparing for an instance like this and therefore took all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of all patients and staff. 

The patient has since been released from the hospital and is in self-isolation at home and will be tested again in breaks of 24 hours until the virus dissipates.

Passengers on the flight are asked to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days. 

The region is in the process of gaining access to all flight details to reach out directly to passengers close to the case.

“If we look at the overall picture in our region, the virus is not currently circulating,”Dr Hsiu-Li Wang, the region’s acting medical officer of health, said to Global News, 

“This is an example of a case that was acquired upon being in another country, and then once she came to our region, she was appropriately assessed, managed and isolated.

The region held a press conference on Thursday, March 5, 2020, to brief the media.

“So that’s why the situation in Waterloo Region hasn’t really changed in terms of the overall risk of spreading this virus,” Wang added.

According to the region, the risk to residents remains low as Public Health continues to work closely with health care practitioners, hospitals, the Ministry of health and all other local and national partners to monitor and assess any cases of COVID-19 in the community.

It is also important to note that it is currently the flu season and it is quite common for individuals to fall sick and therefore, the region also urges the residents to take necessary precautions and follow the actions stated below:

  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

The University of Waterloo has a dedicated page to updates on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) and students are urged to contact Health Services at 519-888-4096 to book an appointment if they feel unwell. The University will also issue communication to keep the community aware of any latest developments.

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