With 257 cases of COVID-19 now confirmed in Ontario, the province just saw its highest overnight jump in the number of new coronavirus patients to date.
Among the new cases are eight people in Toronto, three in Peel, two in Hamilton, two in Halton, two in Ottawa, one in Eastern Ontario, one in Haliburton-Kawartha, one in Durham and one in Waterloo.
Locations, genders, ages and methods of transmission for another 22 patients are currently listed as “pending.”
Methods of transmission, which can be listed as “community,” “travel” or “close contact,” are also pending for two Toronto males in their 20s, one Toronto female in her 20s, two Toronto females in their 30s, two Toronto males in their 40s and one Durham man in his 80s.
While cases of COVID-19 have been rising rapidly within the province and country over the past week, public health experts are urging residents “not to get discouraged” by numbers.
Dr. Matthew Oughton, an infectious disease specialist at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital, told the Canadian Press in a piece published today that it will take at least two weeks for social distancing measures to show any impact on case totals.
It is thus still imperative that Ontarians follow the advice of public health officials and stay home if at all possible to help slow the epidemic curve of this deadly pandemic outbreak.
“Social distancing means keeping 6 feet apart to help prevent virus spread,” said Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “Staying home, and only going out for the absolute essential needs, like food or medicine.”
With Ontario under a state of emergency amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not like we can do much that’s social anyway: All bars, clubs, dine-in restaurants, libraries, schools, childcare centres, recreational facilities, theatres, cinemas, concert venues and even provincial parks have now been ordered to shut down for at least two weeks and gatherings of more than 50 people are currently prohibited.
As of March 18, the World Health Organization had recorded 191,127 cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus, with a total of 7,807 deaths now confirmed globally.
Ontario’s Ministry of Health is advising anyone who begins to feel unwell or experiences symptoms of fever, new cough or difficulty breathing to return home and self-isolate immediately.
“People who are self-isolating should seek clinical assessment over the phone – either through Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) or by calling their primary care provider’s office,” advises the province.
“If you need additional assessment, your primary care provider or Telehealth will direct you to in-person care options.”