Students and faculty at Whitney Junior Public School may have been exposed to COVID-19. Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa sent a letter to the school community on Sunday, informing them that the individual who tested positive for the virus attended school on Wednesday, March 4, but wasn’t showing symptoms at that time.
“Therefore the risk to the school community is low,” de Villa said. She urged parents, faculty, and students to monitor themselves over the next two weeks for symptoms (e.g., fever, a new onset of cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, sore throat, or diarrhea) to help prevent potential virus spread.
“We continue to carefully monitor the evolving situation,” she added before closing the letter with information and resources on the virus.
Letter sent home to parents from Whitney Public School in Toronto re: potential exposure at the school to #COVID19 — Toronto’s medical officer of health says letter is precaution, and risk of exposure is LOW pic.twitter.com/4cEDkzrpQT
— Heather Wright (@HeatherCTV) March 9, 2020
There has been little response on social media about this particular case, but reports suggest that some parents are keeping their children at home for now, until they get more information. As concern about the virus continues to spread across the city, people are taking extra precautions. Some Toronto businesses have closed their doors and an Islamic centre temporarily closed three GTA mosques this past week over COVID-19 concerns.
On Monday, the Beth Sholom Synagogue, located at 1445 Eglinton Ave. W., announced that they were temporarily closing to conduct a thorough sanitization of their building, after one of their lay leaders tested positive for COVID-19.
“As a result, he was placed into a 14 day quarantine where he currently remains at home and is showing signs of recovery. This member has not been to the synagogue since his diagnosis,” the statement reads.
Last week one lay leader from Beth Sholom Synagogue exhibited flu-like symptoms. He had himself tested…
There is no vaccine or cure for the virus, but public health officials are advocating for patients—or anyone who has knowingly come in contact with an individual exposed to the disease—to self-isolate themselves.
Josh Matlow, City Councillor for Toronto-St. Paul’s, is currently in self-isolation after reportedly meeting with the lay leader during his visit to the Beth Sholom Synagogue last week Thursday.
“While I am completely asymptomatic, out of an abundance of caution, and on the advice of Dr. Eileen de Villa, the City’s Medical Officer of Health, I am going into self-isolation until March 20th,” the Councillor noted in a public statement.
Statement Regarding Self-Isolation due to Contact with Confirmed COVID – 19 Case https://t.co/HjdyiFiF7J
— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) March 9, 2020
As of Tuesday morning, Ontario has 36 cases of novel coronavirus. Ontario’s Ministry of Health reports that the latest patient is a male in his 40s who recently visited Switzerland. He received treatment at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, and is currently in self-isolation.
According to Toronto Public Health, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that may cause illness in animals and humans. Human coronaviruses can range from anything from the common cold, to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS CoV), or even the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV).
Wearing a surgical mask likely won’t stop one from getting infected — but simple safety precautions might help: Wash your hands throughout the day with soap and water (and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands).
To prevent the spread of disinformation about the virus, Ontario’s Ministry of Health will now update its website twice a day (10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. EST, seven days a week) with the latest information about COVID-19, including gender, age, public health unit, hospital, where the virus was acquired, and status of each new confirmed case.
If you have travelled from Hubei Province, China, or Iran within the last two weeks, or have had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, visit your family doctor and contact Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600.