Husband of Ontario's fifth COVID-19 patient also tests positive for virus
TORONTO -- The husband of the fifth novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patient in Ontario has also tested positive for the virus in Toronto.
The man, who is in his 60s, remains in self-isolation, Ontario health officials said in a news release issued on Thursday morning.
“We are working alongside Toronto Public Health, who is now and will continue to be in regular contact with this individual during their self-isolation period,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said.
On Wednesday, officials announced the man’s wife presented herself to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s emergency department with a travel history to Iran and symptoms consistent with COVID-19 on Feb. 24.
She returned from Iran nine days before she reported to hospital, officials said.
On Wednesday, officials added that two members of the woman’s family were also in self-isolation at home with her.
The man did not travel with his wife to Iran, officials confirmed to CTV News Toronto. This marks the first time Ontario has seen a case of human-to-human transmission, as all other patients had a recent travel history to China.
Speaking with reporters on Thursday afternoon, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said the man’s only symptoms at the time were a mild cough and a self-reported fever. He is “doing well” at home, she added.
De Villa said that health officials worked until the “wee hours” of the night to trace the couple’s contact history and believe they have identified all individuals who may have been exposed to the virus
“We’ve identified all of those contacts who warrant any other health follow-up,” she said.
Officials also confirmed to CTV News Toronto that the couple’s son, who does not live at the same residence, is also in self-isolation and is being tested for COVID-19.
De Villa told reporters that while this case is the first human-to-human transmission of the virus, the virus has not yet begun to circulate locally.
“At this stage of the game there is not local transmission of COVID-19,” she said. “However, given the global circumstances, we are actively working with our city and health partners to prepare for the potential of local spread.”
Three active cases in Toronto
This is the sixth COVID-19 case in the province. The only other active cases are the man's wife and a woman in her 20s, who also remains in self-isolation at home in Toronto.
Canada has confirmed 13 cases of the illness overall, which has infected more than 80,000 people and caused more than 2,700 deaths around the world.
Seven cases have been identified in British Columbia thus far, including some being linked to recent travel to Iran.
On Wednesday, officials said they were beginning to ask people returning to Canada from China, Iran, South Korea, Singapore, Italy, Hong Kong, and Japan to self-monitor for symptoms.