Huron Perth Public Health confirms first positive case of COVID-19

Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Officer of Health for Huron Perth Public Health, is confirming the first case of COVID-19 in the Huron-Perth region. The 64-year-old male who resides in St. Marys presented to the emergency department at St. Marys Memorial Hospital on the evening of March 12 with symptoms unrelated to COVID-19. The patient’s condition changed in the emergency department and it was identified that COVID-19 should be considered, so testing and precautions were initiated immediately. He was later transferred to Stratford General Hospital.  

The patient recently travelled to Mexico, returning home on March 2. When the patient began feeling sick with unrelated illness on March 7, he began self-isolating at home. Currently the patient is in Stratford General Hospital in serious condition.

Huron Perth Public Health continues to work with our local health system partners to identify all known contacts who may have been potentially exposed to the virus and assess any potential health risk. “We are in the process of conducting case and contact management for this patient and we will continue to update the community as more details are available,” says Dr. Klassen.

“Having a confirmed case in our area is not unexpected given the transmission of this virus globally,” says Dr. Klassen. “Although it is concerning to have a confirmed case, it’s important to remember that as a community and as a health system, we have been preparing for COVID-19. Our focus is on breaking the chain of transmission to limit the spread of infection. The risk to Huron-Perth residents remains low.”

Current recommendations for residents

  • At this time, the virus is not circulating locally. However, this is a rapidly changing situation requiring that the community and individuals be prepared for potential wider spread of the infection in the community.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Health are advising all travellers to monitor their health for fever, cough, and difficulty breathing for 14 days after arriving back in Canada. If symptoms develop within 14 days, returning travellers are directed to self-isolate as quickly as possible and immediately call their health care provider or public health.
  • Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe and include fever, cough, or difficulty breathing (shortness of breath).

Who should be tested for COVID-19?

Testing is only being considered for high-risk individuals, including:

  • Symptomatic contacts of confirmed cases, until community transmission is confirmed
  • Individuals admitted to hospital with acute respiratory illness
  • Health care workers with acute respiratory illness
  • Individuals with acute respiratory who reside in long-term care homes and retirement homes
  • Individuals with acute respiratory illness who reside in other institutions and as directed by local public health
  • Health care workers as part of a health care institutional outbreak and as directed by local public health.

If you are experiencing mild respiratory symptoms, you are advised to stay home and self-isolate until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, and testing is not required.
If you have additional questions, contact your healthcare provider or public health by phone.

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