TORONTO — Today, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, released the following statement on Ontario’s preparedness for the new coronavirus in Ontario:
“I want Ontarians to know that their health and wellbeing is my top concern. While the risks posed by this new coronavirus to Ontarians remain low, the province is actively monitoring and is fully prepared to respond. To date, there have been no confirmed cases in Canada.
Today, to strengthen the ministry’s ability to monitor any coronavirus cases, our government is adding novel coronavirus as a designated disease reportable under Ontario’s public health legislation. Now, physicians, hospitals and other care facilities will be required to report a suspected or confirmed case of the new coronavirus to their local medical officer of health. The local public health unit can then quickly and effectively take all necessary measures to investigate, complete lab tests and do case, and contact management to prevent and control further spread of the infection. Ontario’s reporting requirements now align with British Columbia and Alberta.
Given the recent media coverage, it is also important to note that Ontario’s integrated health system today is far more prepared to respond to any potential health risks than in the past. We now have mechanisms in place, which have strengthened how health care providers work together and coordinate responses to emerging public health issues, such as this new virus. Significant investments in our public health and infection prevention and control systems have been made, including the creation of Public Health Ontario. All Ontarians should take comfort in knowing that our skilled health care providers are bringing their considerable experience to effectively monitor and, should it be needed, respond to this emerging situation.
My ministry, in collaboration with Public Health Ontario, local public health units, hospitals, and other health care providers, will continue to diligently monitor this emerging situation to ensure that Ontario is prepared to identify, contain and treat any potential cases of this virus so that we can continue to build and protect healthy and safe communities.
Again, I want to reiterate our top priority will always remain to safeguard the health of the public, patients, and providers. These changes announced today to support this commitment to protecting Ontarians.”