Ontario reported three new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total in the province to 18.
According to the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, the cases come from people who recently travelled to Egypt and Iran.
One of the new cases is a woman in her 60s, with a recent travel history to Egypt, who returned to Toronto on February 20.
Another woman in her 70s also returned from Egypt on February 20.
A man in his 60s, who took a recent trip to Iran was also diagnosed after returning to Toronto on February 23.
Williams said that Toronto Public Health is following up and monitoring the situation.
“These numbers are small, but important,” Williams said during the press conference. He added that he was expected to see an additional 20 to 30 people after cases came from other regions of the world.
“These numbers are reassuring, it means the system is working, people are being seen and accessed,” Williams said. “We applaud those coming forward.”
Williams said that they are going to increase the risk factor for Iran to a similar level to Hubei, China, where the disease originated from.
The news comes on the heels of the four new cases that were reported over the weekend. The cases come from people who had recently travelled to Iran or Egypt, or the family members of those who had visited the countries.
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While the numbers have increased rapidly, Williams said that there is still not a “risk” to the local community, but they’re taking these cases very seriously.
“No one is currently in the hospital. One person was treated in a hospital and none have died,” Williams said.
“We are interacting with the global picture. We’re monitoring, surveying and following up closely.”
Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott announced Monday that an “enhanced response structure” will formally bring together a wide range of partners to strengthen the province’s plans for a response to the virus.
“Our local public health units, hospitals, emergency health services, nurses and primary care providers, among others, have been critical in managing the early phases of this new coronavirus,” Elliott said in a release.
“This new structure will tap into an even broader network of clinical expertise, experience, and capacity across the health sector to ensure extensive plans are in place to quickly and effectively respond to any and every possible scenario.”