Hello, my name is Mustafa Hirji. I am
Acting Medical Officer of Health for Niagara Region Public Health. Last night Niagara
Public Health was notified of the first case of novel coronavirus also known as
COVID-19 in Niagara region. The patient was a man in his 80s. On March 10th the
patient contacted emergency medical services for an unrelated medical reason.
At the time the patient was not noted to have any symptoms. After hospitalization
it was deemed that the patient had previously experienced some symptoms on March 9th therefore the patient was isolated and
tested for COVID-19 and that test result confirmed infection on March 12th.
Since the patient was not symptomatic until after hospitalization, health care
providers and paramedics who interacted with the patient prior to being
identified to have symptoms will be isolated out of an abundance of caution.
Investigation into the sources of the patient’s infection is currently underway.
To protect the health of the public and prevent community spread, Niagara Region Public Health immediately launched an investigation to identify possible sites
of exposure within our community and any individuals who may have come in contact with this person while he was able to spread the virus to others. Given the
global spread of the virus over the last several weeks a case in Niagara was not
unexpected and pre-emptive measures were in place for exactly this type of
situation. The health and well-being of Niagara residents is our top priority
Niagara Region Public Health is working with our health care partners to monitor the
situation and protect the community. Despite Niagara having its first case,
there continues to be no evidence of local circulation of the virus in
Niagara or Ontario. Therefore the risk to Niagara residents remains low. More
information on the case will be provided as it becomes available. To help to
reduce the spread of infection and keep you and others you know healthy we have
a few recommendations. First, wash your hands often with soap and water or
alcohol-based hand rub. Second, please stay home if you’re sick
so you cannot transmit the infection to others. Third, cover your coughs and
sneezes with a tissue or with your sleeve. And, finally, clean and disinfect
high-touch surfaces daily using a disinfectant and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. As this is an evolving situation, we continue to remind everyone
of the importance of using credible sources to stay informed. We update our
website frequently as new information is confirmed. We invite all Niagara residents to visit niagararegion.ca/health for the latest updates.