Ontario confirms 2 more coronavirus cases

Ontario confirmed Tuesday it has two more cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total to 20.

Overall Canadian total now 34 cases, say health officials

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. Ontario confirmed two more cases of the virus on Tuesday. (NIAID-RML/The Associated Press)

Ontario confirmed Tuesday it has two more cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total provincial count to 20.

There are now 17 positive patients and 3 resolved cases, according to the provincial Ministry of Health. 

All three of those people have had "two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart," said Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health.

Health officials said the two new patients are in self-isolation. One can be linked to travel to Egypt — the other, to travel to Iran.

In a news release, the Ministry of Health confirmed that one of the new cases stems from a woman in her 70s who is from York Region and has a travel history to Egypt.

She arrived in Toronto on Feb 20 and presented herself to Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital on March 1.

Health officials say the hospital took all necessary precautions and followed standard operating procedures, including testing and assessment.

Dr. David William, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, says all protocols have been followed and risk of infection to Ontarians remains low. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The second new case stems from a male in his 50s who returned from Iran on Feb 25 and presented himself to North York General Hospital's emergency department on Feb 29.

Both patients were assessed, discharged home the same day, and remain in self-isolation, says the Ministry of Health.

Health officials say the appropriate local public health units in Toronto and York Region are actively engaged in contact tracing and case management of the two new patients.

Amidst growing concerns over coronavirus, Williams says all health protocols have been followed and risk of infection to Ontarians remains low.

More than 1,100 people have been tested for the virus in Ontario so far, with 1,061 samples coming back negative.

Meanwhile, management at a Scarborough condo tower said it is scrubbing common areas of the property with disinfectant after a security guard there tested positive for the coronavirus.

A statement posted to residents at 4091 and 4101 Sheppard Ave. E. from York Condominium Corp. said a man who works in the building returned from an overseas trip on Feb. 23.

"He was working onsite at the condominium for portions of last week before the diagnosis," the statement read.

The corporation said it is also increasing cleaning operations in the building's lobbies, elevators and offices, as well as the laundry and party rooms.

City working 'non-stop' on preparedness, Tory says

Toronto Mayor John Tory said public health officials have been working "non-stop" to ensure they are ready for an increase in cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. He urged residents not to panic, saying they should know the city is preparing.

"Through public education, awareness and preparation we are keeping the safety and health of our residents a top priority," Tory said via Twitter on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Toronto's largest organizations, agencies and businesses stepped up their response as more COVID-19 cases were confirmed across the GTA in recent days.

Three new cases were confirmed in Ontario on Monday. All of them are people who had recently travelled to Iran or Egypt, or family members of those who had visited the countries.

As a result, travellers arriving in Canada from Iran will now be asked to self-isolate for two weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the new measure is being imposed because new cases confirmed in Canada have been traced to travel in Iran, a pattern she called "very concerning."

The overall Canadian total is now 34 cases, said health officials. 

Thirteen others in B.C. and one person Quebec have tested positive for the virus.