Toronto Public Health has announced that a man in his 40’s who just tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus had visited multiple TTC stations and boarded several public transit vehicles earlier this week.
The man, one of four new COVID-19 patientsconfirmed in Ontario Friday morning, returned to Toronto from Las Vegas, Nevada on February 28.
While experiencing symptoms consistent with the virus, the man rode Toronto’s public transit system on March 2, March 3 and March 4.
Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, detailed what was known of his TTC travelsduring a press conference this morning.
On all three days, the patient is thought to have travelled from Bathurst Station to Islington Station via subway just before 9 a.m. He then took the 108 MiWay express bus from Islington to work.
The patient left work each day around 6 p.m. and rode the 27 Milton GO bus to Yorkdale Station. From there, he took the subway to St. George Station.
Lastly, de Villa says that he took the 511 Bathurst streetcar around 7 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
“This information is being provided out of an abundance of caution,” said de Villa to reporters at this morning’s press conference, noting that the risk of contracting COVID-19 in Toronto remains low.
De Villa is nonetheless urging anyone experiencing respiratory symptoms to stay home if possible, and to call ahead if they plan on going to a local hospital.
She similarly asked Torontonians with a recent history of travel to Iran self-isolate for a period of 14 days, starting with the date of their return to Canada.
Toronto Mayor John Tory is calling upon the public to remain calm in light of this most recent update and to follow the instructions of public health professionals.
“We must not give in, either to complacency or to panic,” he said during this morning’s press conference. “Calm must prevail.”
The TTC said in a statement on Friday that it is aware of the passenger who tested positive for COVID-19 and that it will continue to take all necessary precautions based on the advice of Toronto Public Health.
“Based on information gathered about this individual’s travel patterns, the TTC is in the process of identifying specific vehicles that the individual rode on the days indicated above,” reads a press release from the transit commission.
“The TTC takes the health and safety of its employees and customers very seriously and is in daily communication with Toronto Public Health. At this time, the direction is that no additional measures are required. The TTC continues to be a safe method of travel.”
The public transit agency says it will continue on with “significant additional cleaning and disinfection of all public places,” as it has been doing since January.
Toronto is currently monitoring 11 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 within city limits, while Ontario has upped its total to 26.
Three local patients have recovered from illness caused by the virus and the rest remain in self-isolation. Another 72 cases are currently under investigation within the province.
As of March 5, 95,333 cases of COVID-10 had been confirmed globally, most of them (80,565) in China, where the outbreak originated.
A total of 3,015 have now died as a result of contracting the virus within China, according to the WHO, while another 267 deaths have been confirmed across 85 other countries.
The WHO’s risk assessment of the virus is now listed as “very high” at the global level, but the outbreak has yet to be declared a pandemic.
“At this time the virus is not circulating locally,” reads Toronto Public Health‘s most-recent coronavirus update. “However given the global circumstances, TPH is actively working with City and health partners to plan for the potential of local spread.”