The Province of Ontario confirmed the first COVID-19 related death in Muskoka on Tuesday.
The patient was a 77-year-old man who passed away at the Royal Victoria Hospital. This individual was a close contact of a positive case and COVID-19 was recently identified after death.
The province said the coroner’s investigation is ongoing and more will be known about the specific cause of death in the days ahead.
Dr. David Williams the Chief Medical Officer of Health said “It brings me great sadness to report a death in Ontario that is potentially related to COVID-19.”
“This death is further evidence of the increasingly seriousness of the situation we are in, which is why the province has been taking decisive steps to manage the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario.”
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On Tuesday morning, Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency for Ontario amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
While it was recommended by Toronto Public Health on Monday, Ontario has prohibited public events of over 50 people, and now mandated the closure of restaurants and bars until March 31. Restaurants can still provide take out.
Additionally, numerous other facilities will be closed including, indoor recreational programs, public libraries, private schools, licensed childcare centres, and all theatres.
These measures come into effect immediately, and the province will reassess the situation following the two-week state of emergency.
“It is now more important than ever that we all take steps to reduce opportunities for transmission. By working together, we can make a different in this outbreak and protect those among us who are most vulnerable to COVID-19,” Dr. Williams said.
To date, there have been four other deaths from the coronavirus, which all occurred at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver.
As of March 17, there are 185 cases of coronavirus in Ontario with five resolved cases.