Health Update – CORONAVIRUS Death Toll Has Topped 2,900

Canada's Minister of Health Chairs meeting on corona virus
Canada's Minister of Health Chairs meeting on corona virus

Cases being Investigated in Thunder Bay

THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – The death toll globally has topped 2,900 people. The United States has reported the first death from Novel Corona Virus. There are 85,500 cases reported globally.

France has had two deaths and has banned public gatherings, and the Paris Marathon which was scheduled for Sunday, March 1, 2020. The hardest-hit area in France is just north of Paris. In that centre, all public gatherings have been canceled.

The Head of the World Health Organization says, “In the past 24 hours, China reported 329 cases – the lowest in more than a month.

“As of 6 am Geneva time this morning, China has reported a total of 78,959 cases of COVID-19 to WHO, including 2791 deaths.

“Outside China, there are now 4351 cases in 49 countries and 67 deaths. Since yesterday, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Netherlands, and Nigeria have all reported their first cases. All these cases have links to Italy.

“24 cases have been exported from Italy to 14 countries, and 97 cases have been exported from Iran to 11 countries.

“The continued increase in the number of cases, and the number of affected countries over the last few days, are clearly of concern.

“Our epidemiologists have been monitoring these developments continuously, and we have now increased our assessment of the risk of spread and the risk of impact of COVID-19 to very high at a global level.

“What we see at the moment are linked epidemics of COVID-19 in several countries, but most cases can still be traced to known contacts or clusters of cases. We do not see evidence as yet that the virus is spreading freely in communities.”

Global Overview

China

China Daily reports, “The novel coronavirus epidemic has been easing in China, including in the epicenter city of Wuhan, in Hubei province, but great uncertainties remain and epidemic control efforts must not become lax in any case, the nation’s top health authority said on Friday.”

“After arduous efforts, epidemic control in China is in a scenario of steady improvement,” Ma Xiaowei, minister of the National Health Commission, said at a news conference in Wuhan. “But we cannot go backward by even one step, and we must lock the outbreak in Wuhan and Hubei firmly.”

United States

The United States has reported the first death – a man in Washington State has died from the virus.

President Donald Trump says, “We’re ready to adapt and we’re ready to do whatever we have to as the disease spreads if it spreads. As most of you know, the — the level that we’ve had in our country is very low, and those people are getting better, or we think that in almost all cases they’re better, or getting. We have a total of 15. We took in some from Japan — you heard about that — because they’re American citizens, and they’re in quarantine. And they’re getting better too.

“But we felt we had an obligation to do that. It could have been as many as 42. And we found that we were — it was just an obligation we felt that we had. We could have left them, and that would have been very bad — very bad, I think — of American people. And they’re recovering.

“Of the 15 people — the “original 15,” as I call them — 8 of them have returned to their homes, to stay in their homes until fully recovered. One is in the hospital and five have fully recovered. And one is, we think, in pretty good shape and it’s in between the hospital and going home.

“So we have a total of — but we have a total of 15 people, and they’re in a process of recovering, with some already having fully recovered.”

Canada's Minister of Health Chairs meeting on coronavirus
Canada’s Minister of Health Chairs meeting on corona virus

Canada

In Canada, Minister of Health Patty Hajdu states that the risk remains low. However, the Minister has been telling people to stock up on food and supplies, and to treat the situation like any other emergency.

“It’s really about, first of all, making sure that you do have enough supplies so if someone in your family becomes ill, if you yourself become ill, that you have what you need to survive for a week or so without going outside,” says the Minister.

In Thunder Bay officials with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit are reporting that there have been suspected cases.

Eleven Cases in Ontario

Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, on Saturday has confirmed three new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 11. Of these, the first three cases are all resolved, with each of those patients having two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

After arriving in Toronto on February 26, 2020, a 34-year-old female presented herself to Mackenzie Health on February 27, 2020, with a travel history to Iran. York Region Public Health connected with Mackenzie Health and coordinated an arrival time for the patient. The patient was wearing a mask on arrival.

The patient arrived at Mackenzie Health with a dry cough, runny nose, shortness of breath and headache and was put on airborne/droplet/contact precautions. Due to the low severity of symptoms and the condition of the patient, the patient was not admitted to hospital. The patient is in self-isolation, per protocols, where she remains.

Two patients have also tested positive for COVID-19 at Lakeridge Health Ajax Pickering.

A 51-year-old woman returned to Toronto from Iran on February 22, 2020. On February 28, 2020, she went to an Ajax clinic with symptoms of a cough, body aches and chills. The patient was masked and isolated. Durham Region Health Department contacted Lakeridge Health Ajax Pickering and coordinated an arrival time for the patient. The patient arrived at the hospital wearing a mask where she was tested for COVID-19. She was discharged home and put in self-isolation, per protocols, where she remains.

The husband of the woman who returned from Iran on February 22, 2020, also tested positive for COVID-19 on February 28, 2020. The 69-year-old man experienced a cough but does not have a recent travel history to Iran. He accompanied his wife to the Ajax Clinic and Lakeridge Health Ajax Pickering, where he was masked and isolated. He was tested for COVID-19 and discharged home. He has also been put in self-isolation, where he remains.

At this time the virus is not circulating locally. However, given the global circumstances, Ontario is actively working with city and health partners to plan for the potential of local spread. The province continues to carefully monitor this situation and encourage residents to stay informed by regularly reviewing credible information sources.

Britain

As of February, 29 2020 at 9 am, a total of 10,483 people have been tested in the United Kingdom, of which 10,460 were confirmed negative and 23 positives.

The British government is enacting new laws to cover potential emergency situations.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 have been put in place with immediate effect to impose restrictions on any individual considered by health professionals to be at risk of spreading the virus.

The regulations apply to any individuals seeking to leave supported isolation before the current quarantine period of 14 days is complete. It will also apply to future cases during the current coronavirus incident where an individual who may be infected or contaminated could present a risk to public health.

Today’s announcement is not a result of a change in risk to the UK public, which remains moderate.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“I will do everything in my power to keep people in this country safe. We are taking every possible step to control the outbreak of coronavirus.NHS staff and others will now be supported with additional legal powers to keep people safe across the country. The transmission of coronavirus would constitute a serious threat – so I am taking action to protect the public and isolate those at risk of spreading the virus.Clinical advice has not changed about the risk to the public, which remains moderate. We are taking a belt and braces approach to all necessary precautions to ensure public safety.Our infection control procedures are world leading – what I am announcing today further strengthens our response.”

The regulations have been put in place to reduce the risk of further human-to-human transmission in this country.

The strengthened powers, effective immediately, will ensure that NHS staff dealing with possible cases can be confident the necessary powers are in place to keep individuals in isolation where public health professionals believe there is a reasonable risk an individual may have the virus. This is in line with measures taken in other countries.

Italy

There are lockdown areas in Italy.

  • in Lombardy: Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano
  • in Veneto: Vo’ Euganeo

 

Prevention Advice from World Health Organization

But there are 10 basic things that you should know.

First, as we keep saying, clean your hands regularly with an alcohol-based hand rub, or wash them with soap and water.

Touching your face after touching contaminated surfaces or sick people is one of the ways the virus can be transmitted. By cleaning your hands, you can reduce your risk.

Second, clean surfaces regularly with disinfectant – for example kitchen benches and work desks.

Third, educate yourself about COVID-19. Make sure your information comes from reliable sources – your local or national public health agency, the WHO website, or your local health professional. Everyone should know the symptoms – for most people, it starts with a fever and a dry cough, not a runny nose. Most people will have mild disease and get better without needing any special care.

Fourth, avoid traveling if you have a fever or cough, and if you become sick while on a flight, inform the crew immediately. Once you get home, make contact with a health professional and tell them about where you have been.

Fifth, if you cough or sneeze, do it into your sleeve, or use a tissue. Dispose of the tissue immediately into a closed rubbish bin, and then clean your hands.

Sixth, if you are over 60 years old, or if you have an underlying condition like cardiovascular disease, a respiratory condition or diabetes, you have a higher risk of developing severe disease. You may wish to take extra precautions to avoid crowded areas, or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Seventh, for everyone, if you feel unwell, stay at home and call your doctor or local health professional. He or she will ask some questions about your symptoms, where you have been and who you have had contact with.

This will help to make sure you get the right advice, are directed to the right health facility, and will prevent you from infecting others.

Eighth, if you are sick, stay at home, and eat and sleep separately from your family, use different utensils and cutlery to eat.

Ninth, if you develop shortness of breath, call your doctor and seek care immediately.

And tenth, it’s normal and understandable to feel anxious, especially if you live in a country or community that has been affected. Find out what you can do in your community. Discuss how to stay safe with your workplace, school or place of worship.