pdac coronavirus

Coronavirus patient attended major conference in Toronto last week

The number of coronavirus patients in Ontario has risen to 37, according to public health officials, after a man who visited a downtown Toronto mining conference with more than 25,000 attendees tested positive for the virus.

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury and Districts, confirmed the region's first positive case of COVID-19 on Tuesday evening.

Sutcliffe announced that the patient, a man in his 50s, had taken himself to the emergency room at a Sudbury hospital while experiencing symptoms consistent with the 2019 novel coronavirus (shortness of breath and cough) on March 7.

The man was sent home after being tested for COVID-19 and remains in self-isolation, but officials are concerned about his activities in the week prior to his diagnosis.

"While the Public Health investigation is ongoing, it is known that on March 2 and 3, this individual attended the PDAC (Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada) 2020 convention in Toronto," reads a statement issued by Sutcliffe's team.

"Public Health Sudbury and Districts is actively engaged in follow up and is collaborating with the Ministry of Health and the local health system."

Ontario's Ministry of Health yet to update its website with the province's 37th case, as the diagnosis came in after the province's regular 5:30 p.m. update.

It is of note, however, that the number of people now listed as "currently under investigation" in Ontario has risen to 112 — up from just 22 at the same time yesterday.

Public health officials have not yet said whether this most-recent COVID-19 patient had a recent history of international travel or if he was symptomatic while attending the controversial PDAC mining conference.

Nevertheless, Sutcliffe is asking anyone who attended PDAC 2020 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre last week to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days.

"Although this is concerning, as a community and as a health system, we have been preparing for COVID-19," she told reporters on Tuesday.

"Our focus is on breaking the chain of transmission to limit the spread of infection."

As of Wednesday morning, Canada's federal government is reporting 93 cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus across the country with one confirmed death (a B.C. man in his 80s).

Globally, 113,702 cases have been confirmed to the World Health Organization, 80,924 of them in China. More than 4,000 people have now died as a result of contracting the virus worldwide — 872 of them across 109 different countries outside China, where the outbreak originated in late December.

Toronto Public Health is currently monitoring 17 cases of COVID-19 and maintains that the virus is not circulating locally.

"However, given the global circumstances, TPH is actively working with City and health partners to plan for the potential of local spread," reads a notice on its website.

Lead photo by

PDAC


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