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COVID-19 and the impact on Niagara

 

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Niagara Region Public Health and Emergency Services are investigating a third confirmed case of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region. A 47-year-old male with a travel history to Europe tested positive yesterday.

According to Niagara’s Public Health Department, the patient is recovering at home in self-isolation and has interacted only with his immediate family during the time he may have been contagious, and has not exposed anyone in the community. Officials said all protocols were followed by health care providers resulting in no exposure of themselves nor other patients.

Niagara’s second confirmed case was a 55-year-old female with a travel history to Egypt while the region’s first confirmed case was an 84-year-old male who was transferred to hospital by EMS for another medical problem on March 10 and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 on March 12.

In a statement, Niagara’s acting medical officer of health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji said, “As we continue to see growing COVID-19 cases around the world, we expect to continue to see travel-related cases in Niagara. “However, we are not seeing any local circulation of the virus, and so our risk remains low. Everyone should feel comfortable continuing with their daily activities, but taking reasonable measures to reduce their risk with hand hygiene and social distancing.”

Public health is asking anyone who has a fever, or new cough, or shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, and any of the following: travelled outside of Canada in the 14 days before onset of illness; had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19; or has been in close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who travelled to affected areas within 14 days prior to their illness onset to contact Niagara Region Public Health and Emergency Services by calling 905-688-8248 ext. 7019 or toll-free 1-888-505-6074.

The best way to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 is to:

  • Avoid all non-essential international travel, as recommended by Provincial and Federal health authorities
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand rub
  • Practice social distancing by avoiding unnecessary close interaction with others (e.g. shaking hands, deferring events)
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces daily. Use a disinfectant and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Call ahead if visiting your health care provider for infectious symptoms so they can plan to protect others from spread
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