Province Adds New Reporting Category to More Accurately Reflect Current Status
January 31, 2020 2:59 P.M.
TORONTO – Today, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, confirmed Ontario’s third case of 2019 novel coronavirus. The case is located in London, Ontario.
Given the newness of the 2019 novel coronavirus and as part of the continuing cooperative efforts between Public Health Ontario (PHO) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Ontario has been sharing all test samples with the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg. As part of the National Microbiology Lab’s efforts to ensure quality control, additional testing was performed on the samples provided. As a result of this additional testing, a case that was previously deemed negative by PHO’s lab has now been found to be positive by the National Microbiology Lab, which uses a more sensitive test that can identify the smallest trace presence of the virus. The majority of cases previously considered negative have been confirmed as negative by the National Microbiology Lab.
To provide the public with the greatest certainty, Ontario’s reporting will now include a new category that more accurately reflects the province’s status: presumptive negative. That said, for any person found presumptively negative by the PHO lab, there is an extremely low risk of transmitting the virus.
The newly confirmed case, a female in her 20s, arrived asymptomatic in Toronto on January 23, 2020 and was transported to London by way of a private vehicle. On January 24, 2020, the individual started to exhibit symptoms and that same day was assessed and tested at London Health Sciences Centre. She was released with follow up by the Middlesex-London Health Unit. This individual has had limited exposure to other individuals and has otherwise been in isolation since January 24, 2020, with regular contact by the Middlesex-London Health Unit to monitor her condition. She is now recovered and is well.
“I want to re-emphasize that the risk to Ontarians remains low,” said Dr. Williams. “It is clear that we are learning more and more about the coronavirus each day, and our testing procedures are evolving and getting more and more precise, which is good news for everyone throughout Ontario and Canada. By working hand-in-hand with our partners across the health care system we are in a very good position to contain the virus and better protect the health and wellbeing of individuals and families across the province.”
While requiring validation by the National Microbiology Lab, PHO’s lab will continue to offer the province’s public health system an early indication of a case’s status, allowing the province and local public health officials to quickly and effectively implement all necessary protocols to contain and treat any individuals who have 2019 novel coronavirus.