CBC News Online | Updated December 15, 2003
Feb. 15, 2003
China reports 305 cases of atypical pneumonia (later classified
March 5, 2003
Sui-chu Kwan, a 78-year-old woman who had travelled to Hong Kong in
February, dies of SARS in Toronto.
March 12, 2003
World Health Organization issues a global SARS alert.
March 13, 2003
Kwan's son Chi Kwai Tse, 44, dies of SARS at Scarborough Grace Hospital
March 17, 2003
Health Canada announces 11 suspected cases of SARS in Canada. There are nine in Ontario, one in B.C. and one in Alberta.
March 18, 2003
Doctors in Germany say they have found signs of a paramyxovirus in blood samples from one SARS patient. Scientists in Hong Kong confirm the findings in samples of two other patients. Paramyxovirus is the family of viruses that includes the one causing measles. Scientists say the theory makes sense, since pneumonia can be a complication of measles.
March 19, 2003
Health Canada suggests people should postpone travel to high-risk parts of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam and Singapore. World death toll of SARS estimated at 11.
March 20, 2003
Hong Kong health officials link recent global spread of SARS with a guest in a local hotel. Epidemiologists traced the illness back to a professor from China who was staying at Hong Kong's Metropole Hotel.
Five other people who have come down with SARS stayed at the same hotel, with some of them staying on the same floor as the professor.
March 21, 2003
A Canadian man who shared a hospital room with Tse dies from SARS. He was in his 70s.
Canadian scientists say they've isolated the virus in SARS. They find human metapneumovirus in six of the eight Canadian cases. The virus comes from the same family that gives people mumps or measles.
March 23, 2003
Scarborough Grace Hospital closes temporarily.
The chief of Hong Kong's Hospital Authority is admitted to hospital with pneumonia-like symptoms. Doctors are not sure if he caught SARS.
March 24, 2003
Singapore's health minister orders hundreds of people who may have been exposed to SARS quarantined to their houses for 10 days.
March 25, 2003
Ontario Health Minister Tony Clement declares SARS a reportable, communicable and virulent disease. This gives health officials the authority to track infected people and issue orders to stop them from engaging in activities that transmit SARS.
Ontario health officials report another case of SARS. About a dozen health care workers are placed in isolation and are being monitored after coming in to contact with a SARS victim.
There are now 18 probable cases in Ontario, with another five suspect cases, and 25 others under investigation.
The Toronto school board closes David Lewis public school temporarily after three students come down with unexplainable fevers. Although the school is in the same area as Scarborough Grace Hospital, school officials say there is no known connection between the outbreak and the school.
March 26, 2003
Ontario declares a public health emergency and orders thousands of people to quarantine themselves in their homes. There are 27 probable cases of SARS in the province. Toronto hospitals begin barring visitors.
March 27, 2003
Hong Kong quarantines more than 1,000 people and closes schools. The Rolling Stones postpone their weekend concerts in Hong Kong. Meanwhile researchers at the University of Hong Kong say they have proof SARS is a coronavirus. They say they've designed a quick test for the virus, however one Toronto expert questions its effectiveness.
Singapore closes its schools.
A Taiwanese engineering company closes because five of its employees exhibit SARS symptoms; this causes Tapei to declare a medical alert.
WHO asks airlines to screen passengers for SARS on flights leaving from Toronto, Hong Kong, Singapore, Hanoi, Taiwan and China's province of Guangdong.
WHO reports more than 1,400 cases worldwide. This includes at least 53 deaths.
Ontario health officials order Toronto hospitals closed to visitors, exempting only those who are visiting critically ill patients and parents visiting children.
WHO says 85 new cases of SARS are identified around the world. It also says the death toll has risen by four, to 53.
Dr. Carlo Urbani, 46, the doctor who first identified SARS as a "mystery illness" dies of the disease in Thailand.
Ontario health officials say there are about 100 probable and suspect cases of SARS across the province with the majority in the Greater Toronto Area.
Ottawa says it will put a system in place over the weekend designed to stop the illness from spreading to other countries from Canada's largest airport - Pearson International in Toronto.
It will include assessments of passengers who may be ill.
Australia advises its citizens to reconsider travelling to Hong Kong, Singapore, China and Vietnam.
Taiwan says its number of SARS cases has risen from 10 to 12. Officials handed out 100,000 free surgical masks to travellers and employees at its main international airport, which was being disinfected.
Ontario health officials tell a news conference that another person has died of SARS on March 28. The latest victim had a direct connection with the first person who died from the virus at Scarborough Grace Hospital, and was then transferred to York Central Hospital in Richmond Hill, near Toronto.
Medical officials say at least one child - a 22-month-old - is infected, but do not reveal where the child is being treated.
New Brunswick health officials report that a principal who returned from China developed SARS symptoms while she was away and has quarantined herself to her house. Another 60 people she came in contact with are being monitored.
Public health officials say that all hospital workers in the Greater Toronto Area should be issued protective gear to stop the spread of SARS.
March 31, 2003
Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children says it's treating two probable and three suspected cases of SARS in children. Sick Kids, like other hospitals treating SARS patients, is limiting visits and has cancelled elective procedures and outpatient visits until April 14.
In an effort to contain the virus, the province of Ontario expands its SARS-related restrictions on Toronto hospitals to the rest of the province.
April 1, 2003
Two more people in Toronto have died of SARS, health officials confirm. Both were patients in their 70s being treated in hospital for other ailments. That brings the Canadian death toll to six.
Vancouver health officials say they will be opening a SARS clinic this week to assess potential SARS cases and aid the local hospitals and clinics that are swamped with inquiries and anxious people.
The U.S. State Department authorizes all non-essential employees and their families to leave the province of Guangdong.
WHO advises travellers to stay away from Hong Kong and China.
A plane flying from Asia is quarantined in San Jose, Calif., after the pilot reports several passengers complaining of SARS-like symptoms. Emergency vehicles and medical staff robed in protective garb are on hand to examine the passengers when the plane lands. Later, the four suspected SARS passengers check out of the hospital with a clean bill of health.
April 2, 2003
China reports 361 new cases of SARS for the month of March bringing the total number of cases in the province of Guangdong to 1,153. The Chinese government grants five WHO experts permission to visit the province.
Ontario health officials issue a mandatory quarantine to two people exposed to SARS.
Organizers of the American Association for Cancer Research cancel their annual meeting, due to start in Toronto Saturday for fear of SARS. The meeting was expected to draw more than 12,000 scientists and 16,000 delegates from around the world.
Australia warns its citizens against travelling to Canada and British officials says its travellers should be aware SARS is on the rise here.
April 3, 2003
Health officials confirm another person has died of SARS in Toronto, bringing the Canadian death toll to seven. The victim is a 57-year-old woman who had been exposed to the disease at Scarborough Grace Hospital.
China's minister of public health says it's safe to travel to China. The government tries to convey the message that the outbreak is under control.
April 4, 2003
Chinese health officials apologize for not being more forthcoming with information.
Malaysia and Japan issue travel advisories warning their citizens not to travel to Canada.
New Brunswick health officials report another suspect case bringing the number of cases up to two in the province. Health officials say the latest case had direct contact with the principal from Miramichi who came down with the symptoms when she was travelling in China.
A Toronto family visiting Australia is suspected of having SARS and is placed in isolation in a hospital near Melbourne. The family traveled to Australia a week ago to visit the children's grandparents.
April 5, 2003
Ontario health officials report that one more person has died from SARS in the morning bringing the Canadian death toll up to eight. The latest victim was being treated in isolation, after being transferred to Toronto Western Hospital from the Scarborough Grace Hospital where the original SARS cases were reported in the region.
Health officials advised anyone who was present at the Highland Funeral Home on April 3 to contact health authorities and quarantine themselves. It is thought that a person who was infected with SARS attended the funeral, possibly infecting others.
Health officials say they are investigating a possible ninth SARS-related death at a hospital in Toronto's east end, Rouge Valley Health System. They want anyone who visited that hospital between March 26 and April 5 to contact them and then place themselves in isolation.
There are 163 probable or suspected cases of SARS in the Toronto area - up from 149 the day before.
April 6, 2003
Health officials confirm the ninth death was SARS-related after investigating the case of an elderly man who died April 1 at the Rouge Valley Health System.
April 7, 2003
Ontario health officials report that another person has died from SARS bringing the death toll to 10.
The latest victim died Sunday night at St. Joseph's Health Centre in Toronto.
Health officials say an 11th death is also under investigation – a 74-year-old woman who died in Picton, Ontario.
The number of suspected and probable cases across the country is 226, with 188 of them in Ontario.
A doctor who has been at the forefront of fighting the SARS outbreak in Toronto has contracted the illness herself. Allison McGeer, a microbiologist and director of infection control at Mount Sinai Hospital, says she is being treated at the hospital.
McGeer's boss, Dr. Donald Low, had gone into voluntary quarantine earlier, after coming into contact with someone who has SARS.
China says the outbreak is slowing down but in Hong Kong the number of suspected and probable cases is climbing. Forty-five new cases are reported in Hong Kong bringing its total up to 928.
Singapore says it will deploy army medical personnel to help fight SARS and considers the idea of installing WebCams in people's homes to enforce quarantines.
April 9, 2003
Health officials place 197 employees at a Hewlett-Packard plant in Markham Ont. under quarantine after a worker defied his quarantine and showed up for work showing SARS symptoms.
"We really can't stress enough, if someone is in isolation, they must follow the rules of isolation," said James Young, Ontario's commissioner of public security. "If public health says you need to be in isolation, you should be in isolation."
Health officials also shut down two Scarborough schools amid fears that a student at one of them may have contracted SARS.
Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute and the neighbouring John Buchan Senior Public School will remain closed until at least next Tuesday. A Stephen Leacock student with suspicious symptoms attended class on Friday.
Various countries in Asia are tightening rules on people entering, as well as certain behaviours. Malaysia has stopped issuing entry visas to travellers from China. Indonesia has told its citizens to stop spitting in public. The Philippines has advised against unnecessary travel to either Hong Kong or China's province of Guangdong. Roman Catholic priests in Singapore have been asked to stop hearing confessions.
April 10, 2003
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien dines at a Chinese restaurant in Toronto in a bid to dispel fears about SARS that have hurt local businesses.
Ottawa hasn't ruled out aid to help businesses hurt by the virus, but Chrétien said such relief would initially be the responsibility of the province.
The number of suspected and probable cases of SARS in Ontario rose by 11 to 206.
April 11, 2003
Canadian Blood Services says it will not take blood from people who have recently travelled to certain countries in southeast Asia, even though there's no scientific evidence that SARS can enter the bloodstream. The blood agency says it's a necessary precaution to slow the spread of SARS.
Canada is the first country to defer blood donations from people who have travelled to SARS-infected countries in Asia, but the U.S. may follow suit.
April 12, 2003
Health officials report that three more people have died of SARS in the Toronto area, bringing the Canadian death toll up to 13.
The victims became ill after coming into direct contact with SARS patients during the initial outbreak at hospitals. All three were women in their 70s and 80s. One died Friday night, and the other two on Saturday morning.
A B.C. research centre, Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre, announces that it has mapped the genomic code of the virus believed to cause SARS. The development, hailed by the World Health Organization, could help lead to a reliable test for the illness, as well as a possible vaccine.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control and Winnipeg's National Microbiology Laboratory participated in the research.
"This is a huge step forward in the fight to control the spread of SARS," said Dr. Caroline Astell, projects leader at the genome centre.
April 14, 2003
Hong Kong experiences one of its worst days in the battle against SARS. Seven more people die bringing the country's death toll up to 47, and another 40 probable cases are reported bringing the number up to 1108. Six of the seven deaths occurred in relatively young patients in their mid-30s to early 50s with no other health problems.
Passengers leaving Hong Kong's airport are now being screened for symptoms of SARS.
There are also random checks on those entering Hong Kong from the rest of China.
China announces four more deaths, bringing its total to 64.
Toronto health officials order all 500 members of a Toronto Catholic sect, Bukas-Loob Sa Diyos, into quarantine after their group was linked to cases of SARS.
Health officials say there are 10 probable and 19 suspected cases and two physicians treating the group were infected.
The sect members were exposed to the disease two weeks ago at the funeral of a SARS victim.
April 15, 2003
Ontario Premier Ernie Eves says people forced to take time off work or whose businesses are affected by SARS won't be getting any money from the government.
"Writing a cheque to every person adversely affected by SARS would cost "tens of billions of dollars," Eves tells a news conference designed to promote the Chinese business community.
Eves says he might ask Ottawa for disaster relief funding to help pay for the growing cost of the SARS outbreak.
April 16, 2003
Toronto health officials insist the outbreak is not out of control.
There are reports that two members of the quarantined religious group defy their order and go to work at a Toronto retirement home.
April 17, 2003
Health officials say that the retirement home scare was a false alarm. It turns out the paid companions were not part of the quarantined religious group.
"They (Baycrest Centre) reacted and didn't have all the information," said Dr. James Young, Ontario's commissioner of public safety.
Meanwhile, Toronto health officials keep an eye on a 252-unit apartment building in east Toronto after a few residents showed signs of SARS.
Hong Kong health officials say one person with SARS infected hundreds of people in an apartment complex through faulty sewage pipes.
Hong Kong Health Secretary Dr. Yeoh Eng-kiong says the SARS-infected visitor had diarrhea and as more people in the complex came down with SARS and also had diarrhea, contaminated feces spread the virus through the apartment's sewage system and then into bathrooms through drains whose seals had dried up.
A Hong Kong doctor says two of three babies born to SARS-infected mothers are in critical condition and need help breathing. One was born to a mother who died Monday, two weeks after doctors delivered the child by caesarean section.
April 18, 2003
Health officials stress the need for people under quarantine to remain home and not attend public religious services marking the Easter holiday. Catholic churches handed communion wafers to worshipers instead of placing them in people's mouths, confessions took place outside of confession booths and handshaking has been replaced with smiles.
Residents of an apartment building in Toronto's east end are told to watch for symptoms of SARS after a resident was diagnosed with the disease and couldn't be linked to people infected in hospitals or by health care workers. Officials warn it's too early to conclude the disease is spreading sporadically.
April 19, 2003
A 59-bed ward at Royal Columbian hospital near Vancouver is closed because of fears that a second nurse there has SARS. B.C. health care workers treating SARS patients are now required to wear goggles in addition to gowns, masks and gloves.
Hong Kong's death toll from SARS jumps by 12, its worst day ever. With 81 deaths so far, it is now officially the world's worst-hit location. The region's chief executive admits public health officials were slow to respond to the SARS threat. Apartments, office buildings, food markets and back alleys are being scrubbed. Passengers arriving and departing at Hong Kong's airport must have their temperatures taken (a temperature over 38 C is a symptom of SARS.)
Fear of SARS leads several private schools in Britain to bar students returning from spring break in Singapore, Hong Kong and China's Guangdong province. Some children will stay in hotels with their parents, others are heading to Ireland, Holland and France, and 155 will go to quarantine camps in Dorset and the Isle of Wight.
April 20, 2003
Doctors in Toronto express concern that they are starting to see more young and otherwise healthy people contracting SARS. Officials already noticed the trend in parts of Asia.
SARS claims its 14th victim in Canada, a 99-year-old man who died in the Toronto area on April 19.
A woman thought to be infected with SARS was aboard a commuter train travelling west of Toronto on April 14 and April 15. Public health officials say the six other people who were seated with her should watch themselves for symptoms.
Canada's largest trauma unit, Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, stops accepting new patients after at least four health-care workers show signs of SARS. The hospital also closes its critical care, cardiovascular intensive care and SARS units for 10 days.
Officials dealing with Toronto's outbreak will meet on April 22 to discuss "worst-case scenarios," such as how authorities should handle the quarantine of an entire building or neighbourhood. A coalition of business leaders arranged a summit for April 28 to discuss the economic impact of the outbreak. Ontario Health Minister Tony Clement says municipal, provincial and federal governments should work together to soften the economic effects of SARS.
China reports 12 more SARS deaths and another 400 cases in Beijing nearly a 10-fold increase. China's health minister and Beijing's mayor were demoted from their positions within the Communist party. The government cancelled the May Day holiday in an effort to cut down on the mass movement of people.
Singapore reports a SARS outbreak in its largest vegetable market, sparking fears the disease is moving into the wider community of four million people.
April 21, 2003
Despite concern that a nurse may have exposed six commuter train passengers to SARS a week earlier, an expert on infectious disease says it's too early to assume the disease is no longer contained. Dr. Jay Keystone of the Centre for Travel and Tropical Medicine at the University of Toronto said it is reassuring the commuter train passenger was a health care worker who had been treating SARS patients at Mount Sinai Hospital because officials know how she contracted the illness.
Transit officials plaster train stops along the nurse's route with information on the case. Health officials say the risk of contracting SARS on public transit remains low. The biggest danger remains at hospitals where people with the illness are being treated.
A man whose heart surgery was cancelled because of the SARS outbreak in Toronto has died, according to the head of the cardiology department at Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre.
Ontario's chief medical officer of health wants doctors and nurses to wear full face shields, double gowns and double gloves as a precaution. The changes came after as many as 15 staff contracted SARS while clearing the airway of a patient with the disease.
April 22, 2003
Ontario health officials report the death of a 64-year-old man hospitalized as a probable SARS patient, the province's 15th SARS victim.
Ontario Premier Ernie Eves says he has been assured by Prime Minister Jean Chr�tien that the federal government will help deal with the impact of SARS. Eves says the prime minister is willing to look at waiving the two-week waiting period for Employment Insurance benefits.
Experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control arrive in Toronto to help figure out why hospital workers are getting sick despite their precautions against SARS.
Health Canada announces that experts from around the world will gather in Canada to discuss the emerging disease. Delegates to discuss infection control strategies such as quarantines, and what kind of research is needed.
April 23, 2003
The World Health Organization warns against all unnecessary travel to Toronto, Beijing and China's Shanxi province because of the SARS outbreak. The three locations joined Hong Kong and China's Guangdong province on WHO's list.
Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman declares it is safe to live in and visit Toronto. The city's medical officer of health Sheela Basrur says linking Toronto and China is a "gross misrepresentation of the facts" because the disease is not spreading through the community.
April 24, 2003
Health Canada sends a formal letter of protest to the World Health Organization demanding the UN health agency take back its Toronto travel advisory. Health Canada says WHO based its warning on outdated information.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says it doesn't believe a travel advisory is warranted for Toronto since public health officials understand the patterns of transmission in the city. British medical officers, meanwhile, support the advisory.
Ontario Premier Ernie Eves promises people who can't go to work because they're under a SARS quarantine will be reimbursed for all lost wages. The province also pledges to help businesses that are losing money because of SARS, but says it is too early to offer grants, loans or other financial assistance.
Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman says the city is suffering not only from the outbreak but also public perception of the risks. Lastman says the prime minister and premier have promised support.
SARS forces the closure of a major hospital in Beijing. All public schools in China are also ordered closed for two weeks. Another 125 people have come down with SARS in China, and the disease has claimed 110 lives in the country.
April 25, 2003
Public health officials in Toronto insist the SARS outbreak is under control. They announce three more people have died of the illness, raising the death toll to 19. Ontario's chief medical officer of health says there have been no new probable cases of SARS in the Toronto area since April 9, with the exception of a few health-care workers at hospitals.
The World Health Organization denies politics were involved in issuing a travel advisory for Toronto. Dr. Donald Low, a microbiologist and a key player in the SARS fight, had accused the WHO of having a political motivation for the advisory, not a scientifically sound one.
Health officials in Vancouver say SARS may never be fully contained and Canadians may just have to live with it. Experts say SARS is highly contagious and its mortality rate is similar to that of influenza.
April 26, 2003
A 79yearold woman in Toronto becomes the 21st person in Canada to die of SARS. The same day, the World Health Organization says its advisory against nonessential travel to Toronto may be lifted after experts look at new SARS data on April 29. This comes three days after WHO issued the advisory, sparking protest from Toronto health officials and politicians.
April 27, 2003
Ottawa announces it will appeal Taiwan's decision to turn back Canadian travellers because of fears they might have SARS. This comes the same day Taipei announces it will temporarily stop issuing visitor and residency visas to people from countries hardest-hit by SARS.
April 28, 2003
Heritage Minister Sheila Copps, a Liberal leadership contender, criticizes her own government for its handling of the SARS crisis in Canada. She directly blames Health Minister Anne McLellan for the delayed federal response to the SARS outbreak. A week earlier, Copps said SARS was a national disaster in need of federal funding.
The World Health Organization says the spread of SARS has peaked in every country known to have outbreaks, except China.
April 29, 2003
The World Health Organization announces it will lift a travel advisory against Toronto, effective April 30, 2003. After a meeting with a delegation of Canadian health officials who travelled to Geneva, WHO director general, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, says the magnitude of cases in Toronto has decreased and it has been 20 days since the last community transmission of the disease.
April 30, 2003
Two more SARS deaths announced by Ontario. The deceased are identified as a 72-year-old male and a 39-year-old male, the youngest person to die of SARS in Canada. The announcement comes the same day the World Health organization lifts its travel advisory against Toronto.
Also this day, health experts from around the world open a conference on SARS in Toronto.
May 1, 2003
SARS peaks in Hong Kong, Toronto, Vietnam. Also on this day, world health officials wrap up conference on SARS in Toronto. They say they need better international co-operation to control the disease.
May 2, 2003
The federal government pledges "a minimum" of $100 million to help fight SARS. The money will go primarily to health services.
May 3, 2003
Two hundred new cases of SARS appear in Beijing just a day after Chinese authorities said the disease's outbreak in the capital had crested. Nine new deaths are also reported.
China announces it will allow WHO investigators into Taiwan. China claims Taiwan - which split from the mainland after the 1949 civil war - as its own province. It has blocked the self-ruling island's efforts to join the United Nations or deal with related agencies.
May 4, 2003
China says that more than one million school children in the capital of Beijing will stay home for another two weeks as their government tries to stem the spread of SARS. Government officials will conduct classes by television or over the Internet to limit the impact on education.
May 5, 2003
The World Health Organization announces that the virus that causes SARS may be much more resilient than originally thought. WHO publishes new research that suggests the virus can survive outside the human body for hours or even days, spreading through sewage and contaminated objects.
May 6, 2003
Authorities in the Chinese city of Nanjing order 10,000 people into quarantine as China announces 138 new cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome and eight deaths. The World Health Organization, meanwhile, says the outbreak is over in Vietnam and receding in Canada.
May 7, 2003
WHO sends a four-member team to visit two Chinese provinces where the rural health system may not be able to cope with a spreading outbreak of SARS.
Also this day, the first major study of SARS estimates that about 20 per cent of the people sent to hospital with the disease in Hong Kong are dying.
May 8, 2003
The World Health Organization estimates that 15 per cent of people who get SARS will die of the disease and that the rate among elderly patients is more than 50 per cent.
The health body issues SARS travel warnings for Taiwan and the Chinese provinces of Tianjin and Inner Mongolia.
May 11, 2003
Ontario's former medical officer of health, Dr. Richard Schabas, says Ontario officials mishandled the SARS outbreak in that province. He says Ontario experts and health officials failed to analyse data properly, and that they caused unnecessary panic through their messages to the public.
May 12, 2003
A suspected case of SARS in Finland keeps Canada on the World Health Organization's list of countries affected by the disease. The man is Finland's first suspected case of SARS and health officials there say he got sick in late April while visiting Toronto. The whole idea is preposterous, said Dr. Colin D'Cunha, Ontario's commissioner of public health.
May 14, 2003
Prime Minister Jean Chretien announced that the World Health Organization removed Toronto from its list of SARSaffected areas. There has been no new local transmission in the community for 20 days two incubation periods.
May 15, 2003
China threatens to execute or impose a life sentence on anyone who breaks SARS quarantine orders and deliberately spreads the disease. The Supreme Court laid out the punishments in an attempt to prevent SARS from spreading through the countryside, home to many of the country's 1.3 billion people.
May 17, 2003
WHO announces the SARS epidemic is showing signs of ending everywhere except mainland China.
May 18, 2003
Worried about the possibility of another outbreak of SARS or some equally infectious disease, Ontario announces it is setting up a panel of experts to advise health-care workers on what to do next time.
May 19, 2003
The World Health Organization imposes a travel advisory on the entire SARS-afflicted island of Taiwan after it reported a record daily rise of 65 probable cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome. The total for the island sits at 483, the third highest in the world after China and Hong Kong.
May 22, 2003
Four people, two in critical condition, are placed in respiratory isolation in a Toronto hospital for fear they may have been exposed to SARS. One of those patients later tests positive for the SARS-related coronavirus.
May 23, 2003
Toronto's SARS list grows. Health officials say they're now dealing with at least 25 suspected and probable cases at two Toronto hospitals. And they say two recent deaths may have been the result of severe acute respiratory syndrome.
May 24, 2003
At least 500 people in Toronto are ordered into quarantine as a precaution while health officials investigate a few dozen possible new cases of SARS. Public health authorities confirm that they're looking at up to 33 new infections.
May 25, 2003
Toronto public health officials say they have been able to trace eight probable SARS cases back to the original, hospital-based outbreak.
May 26, 2003
Toronto health officials assure that the current SARS outbreak has been contained. Approximately 2,200 people are quarantined across Ontario - close to half are in Toronto. There are 11 active probable cases and more than two dozen suspect cases of SARS in that city.
May 27, 2003
A school in the Toronto area is closed after a student with symptoms of SARS attended classes one week earlier. The student has a definite link to North York General Hospital, the source of the latest SARS outbreak, now closed to the public. The school's 1,500 students and 100 teachers are ordered into quarantine as a precaution.
May 28, 2003
Two more SARS deaths are announced in Toronto. The Ontario government, meanwhile announces that it will spend $720 million on assisting health-care workers and facilities involved in the SARS fight.
May 29, 2003
The number of SARS cases on the books rises in Toronto as Canada adopts the World Health Organization's way of classifying patients. Doctors in Toronto say the system is simpler and better reflects the extent of the problem. Under WHO's definition, any unexplained case of pneumonia is listed as "probable SARS."
May 30, 2003
Officials announce that SARS claimed the life of a 57-year-old man in the Toronto area on May 29. That brings to 30 the number of SARS-related deaths in Canada - all of them in the Toronto area.
May 31, 2003
Ontario's chief medical officer says four deaths at the Scarborough Centenary site of the Rouge Valley Health System are being investigated to determine if they're SARS-related. The deaths had occurred in the previous week.
June 1, 2003
One more person in Toronto has died of SARS, but authorities still can't say if another five deaths are related to the disease. The 60-year-old woman died May 31, bringing the Canadian total to 31 - all in the Toronto area.
June 2, 2003
A review of old cases turns up another SARS death in Toronto bringing the number of SARS deaths in Canada to 32. The patient died May 20 at Scarborough General Hospital. Ontario nurses, meanwhile, and their union ask the Ontario government to call a public inquiry into how the health-care system handled the SARS outbreak in the province.
The nurses want to see an elaborate investigation much like the one that looked into the causes of the tainted water scandal in Walkerton, Ont.
June 6, 2003
An obstetrics unit in Toronto's Mount Sinai hospital may have been exposed to SARS. A student obstetrician developed symptoms of SARS two days after he helped a woman give birth to twins. The health-care worker, believed to have been infected at another hospital on May 23, had finished a 10-day quarantine, and didn't show symptoms until two days after the incubation period.
June 7, 2003
Ontario health officials announce the deaths of two more people in the Toronto area. A 66-year-old woman and a 63-year-old man both died from the illness on June 6th, four days since the last reported death from SARS. The deaths bring the total of SARS deaths in Canada to 33. Officials say 25 of the deaths are connected to the first cluster, which broke out in March 2003.
June 9, 2003
Public health officials in Ontario announce that a dialysis clinic just east of Toronto may be the scene of a new outbreak of SARS. Fifteen patients at the Lakeridge Health Corp. clinic in Whitby developed an unexplained pneumonia. Authorities say they're treating the patients as possible cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome. There are fears the numbers could climb because staff at the clinic were not wearing protective gear until a few days prior to the latest announcement.
June 10, 2003
Ontario Premier Ernie Eves announces there will be an inquiry into how the province has handled the SARS crisis. It will be headed by Ontario Superior Court Justice Archie Campbell, who has previous experience in heading inquiries. In 1995, he led an inquiry into how the criminal investigation into serial killer and rapist Paul Bernardo was handled. Campbell will have the power to summon witnesses. Those who do testify will receive whistle-blower protection, the premier said. The decision is an about-face for Eves, who had been resisting pressure for a judicial inquiry from opposition politicians and from frontline health-care workers such as nurses.
June 11, 2003
Half of the patients at a Toronto-area dialysis clinic who were suspected of having SARS have been cleared of the disease. Doctors said tests show that seven of the 15 patients at the Lakeridge Health Corp. dialysis clinic in Whitby are free from SARS. Seven others are still being tested and doctors are conducting an autopsy on one patient who died before a diagnosis could be made.
June 12, 2003
A consulting firm reports that the tourism industry in Toronto has lost nearly $190 million because of the SARS outbreak.
"The impact is profound," Lyle Hall, managing director of KPMG's hospitality, leisure and tourism practice, said in a release. "We have never seen revenue losses of this magnitude and across all sectors, not only accommodation, but also restaurants, attractions, transportation companies and tour operators."
June 13, 2003
Health officials in Ontario say they've likely found the link between the first and second outbreaks of SARS in Toronto. A woman was exposed to SARS on March 17 at the Scarborough Grace Hospital, site of the original outbreak. She passed it on to her daughter, who is a health-care worker at North York General. Officials believe the daughter passed it on to a 96-year-old patient while they were both on the same floor of the North York hospital.
Meanwhile, the government of Ontario announces it will offer a minimum of $500 per person to compensate for income lost due to SARS. People who received no support from their employers and who contracted severe acute respiratory syndrome or were ordered into quarantine can receive the "isolation payment." They must be employed, self-employed or have been prevented from earning their normal income for at least five days due to SARS. Anyone who missed work because they had to care for someone with SARS can also apply for the payment.
June 17, 2003
Toronto health officials announce that 67-year-old man died from SARS on June 16. The death is the city's 34th from severe acute respiratory syndrome. Officials say the man got the illness during the second outbreak, which took place in May.
June 18, 2003
Health officials in Toronto reclassify the death of a 67-year-old man in May as a death from SARS, bringing the death toll from SARS in the city to 35.
June 19, 2003
Ontario rejects $250 million in SARS relief calling the federal offer "outrageous" and insulting to the province. Provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs David Young said "the offer � was woefully inadequate and is insulting." Ontario wants the federal government to pay for 90 per cent of SARSrelated costs under the federal disaster relief program. The province estimates the disease has cost nearly $1.5 billion in healthcare costs alone and wants Ottawa to pay $900 million.
June 22, 2003
Over 70,000 people gather in Toronto for a musical marathon designed to downplay the dangers of SARS in the country's largest city. The Concert For Toronto features an allCanadian lineup, including Avril Lavigne, The Barenaked Ladies, Sarah McLachlan, The Tragically Hip and Diana Krall. Two downtown venues are used for the six-hour show the SkyDome and the nearby Air Canada Centre.
June 23, 2003
Ontario announces that two more people have succumbed to SARS in Toronto.
A 55-year-old man and an 81-year-old woman, both of whom had been ill for a long time, have died. That raises the Canadian death toll from severe acute respiratory syndrome to 38 people, all in the Toronto area, since SARS was identified in mid-March.
June 27, 2003
Ontario Health Minister Tony Clement says SARS has cost Ontario's healthcare facilities $945 million, and now the provincial government has been reduced to "begging" Ottawa to help pay for the damages. Clement tells a news conference he wants Ottawa to shed its laissezfaire approach to Ontario's 108-day SARS crisis and pay for 90 per cent of the costs under disaster relief legislation.
One week earlier, Ottawa had offered Ontario $150 million in aid along with a promise to negotiate another $100 million, an offer Clement called "paltry."
June 30, 2003
Canada's SARS death toll rises to 39 as a 51-year-old nurse becomes Ontario's first health-care worker to die from the infection. The nurse worked at North York General Hospital, one of the centres hit by an outbreak of SARS.
July 2, 2003
The World Health Organization removes Toronto from its list of SARS-affected cities. "We're quite confident the chain of human-to-human transmission has been broken in that city," WHO spokesperson Christine McNab told CBC Newsworld. It has been 20 days since the last new infection was reported, which is twice the incubation period for severe acute respiratory syndrome. That leaves Taiwan as the only place where the disease is still not under control. If no new cases develop, it could be off within a week. It's the second time Toronto has been through this. It was removed from the list of affected areas on May 14, only to see a second cluster erupt on May 26.
July 4, 2003
Funeral is held for Toronto nurse Nelia Laroza, the first Canadian health care worker to die from SARS. The service is attended by 800, including Ontario Premier Ernie Eves. Laroza died June 30.
July 20, 2003
A second Ontario nurse dies of SARS. The 58-year-old contracted SARS during Toronto's first outbreak several months ago. She is the 41st person to die of SARS in Ontario since spring. "I extend my deepest condolences to the friends and relatives of a nurse who gave her life fighting this deadly disease," said the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Colin D'Cunha, in a news release.
July 21, 2003
An international team of scientists announce they have conclusively identified a coronavirus as being responsible for SARS. The coronavirus (CoV) is related to the common cold. "The significance of the paper is confirming that this coronavirus does produce very serious disease," said Frank Plummer, scientific director at the National Microbiology lab in Winnipeg.
August 11, 2003
A 44-year-old Toronto woman dies of SARS, making her the 43rd person in Canada. It was the first SARS death in Toronto in nearly a month.
August 13, 2003
Toronto physician Dr. Nestor Yanga becomes the first North American doctor to die of SARS. The 54-year-old, who worked at a family clinic, had been sick with SARS for 19 weeks and was being treated for the illness in the intensive care unit at Sunnybrook hospital. He became ill after treating a patient with SARS. He is the 44th person to die of SARS in the Toronto area, and the third health care worker.
September 29, 2003
Ontario's SARS inquiry opens first of three days of public hearings in Toronto. In his opening remarks, commission chair Justice Archie Campbell says the public has a right to know what happened during the outbreak.
October 7, 2003
Dr. David Naylor, dean of medicine at the University of Toronto, releases a report looking into what went wrong during Toronto's SARS crisis. The report, commissioned by Health Canada, suggests that Canada needs a public health agency similar to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. It calls for $700 million in new health spending.
November 13, 2003
Officials announce that hundreds of thousands of dollars spent screening passengers for SARS at Canadian airports have been ineffective in preventing the spread of the disease. "The fact is, we didn't identify any SARS cases," said Dr. David Mowat of Health Canada. Seven million passengers were screened at airports across the country.
December 2, 2003
Researchers at the B.C. Centre for Disease control say human trials of a SARS vaccine could take place in Canada by autumn 2004.
Scientists with the SARS Accelerated Vaccine Initiative (SAVI) say tests using small animals mice and rabbits are going well.
January 5, 2004
China reports the first case of SARS since the global epidemic was declared over in July 2003. The latest patient is a 32-year-old television producer working in southern Guangdong province.
April 7, 2004
A 20-year-old nurse is quarantined in Beijing after developing fever and tremors. Five others are isolated after developing fevers, and 171 other people who had contact with the nurse are monitored.
April 22, 2004
China confirms two suspected cases of SARS, one in Beijing and one in the eastern province of Anhui.
April 25, 2004
Four new suspected cases bring the total to two confirmed cases and six suspected cases. The suspected cases include relatives and a roommate of a confirmed SARS patient.
April 28, 2004
The World Health Organization says the SARS outbreak in China appears to be under control. Another suspected case of the disease brings the total to two confirmed cases and seven suspected cases.
April 29, 2004
China confirms two more cases of SARS, bringing the number of confirmed cases to four. There are also five suspected cases in the country. Health officials link all the cases to Beijing's Institute of Virology.
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