Health officials confirmed Monday night that test results for a patient in isolation in Ottawa came back negative for the Ebola virus, while a man with Ebola-like symptoms remains in isolation at a hospital in Belleville, Ont., awaiting blood-test results.
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One patient arrived at the Ottawa Hospital's General campus on Sunday and was immediately placed in isolation, Ottawa Public Health confirmed to CBC News on Monday. The patient will no longer require isolation, the agency said in a news release Monday night.
The patient had recently visited a West African country where Ebola has been reported.
Samples were sent to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg for testing, and results came in Monday evening.
The hospital received a call before the patient arrived to allow staff to prepare for the arrival.
"We want to thank and commend the patient for following recommendations to travellers from affected countries that develop symptoms to call the receiving hospital prior to coming to hospital so that all appropriate infection control measures can be fully implemented prior to the patient's arrival," Ottawa Public Health said in a news release.
The person's age and gender are not being released to protect their privacy, the hospital said.
Ebola 'unknowns' raise concerns
An infectious disease specialist at the hospital said in a statement that "all necessary precautions" were taken to ensure the safety of others in the hospital.
"Strict infection prevention and control measures in Ontario hospitals means the risk of Ebola to other patients and health-care workers is minimal," said Dr. Jonathan Angel.
Also in the statement, Dr. Isra Levy, Ottawa's medical officer of health, emphasized that "Ebola virus disease spreads only through direct contact with infected bodily fluids."
But the head of the Ontario Nurses Association said there is no consensus on whether or not Ebola can spread through the air. Linda Haslam-Stroud argued that someone could inhale tiny airborne particles if exposed to them long enough in an enclosed space.
"Aerosol transmission has not been ruled out and this is the fundamental disagreement that we're having right now with the government and we're working with the government to try to resolve," she said. "Ebola has a lot of unknowns to it."
Belleville case 'extremely low risk,' public health officials say
In the other case, a male showed up at the Belleville General Hospital's emergency room with Ebola-like symptoms late Sunday night.
The patient had recently made one stopover in an airport in Sierra Leone, and the hospital described the case as "extremely low risk."
Within four minutes of his arrival at the Belleville hospital, he was placed in isolation, and no other patients in the ER had contact with him, the hospital said.
At news conference Monday afternoon, Belleville's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Richard Schabas, said the patient was not in critical condition and that his blood test results are expected by Tuesday morning.