Halton Region Public Health (HRPH) says Ontario’s second death related to COVID-19 was a patient being treated for an underlying condition at a regional hospital.
In a release, the health unit said the man – in his 50s – was a patient with the Milton District Hospital, and that his death was not connected to travel.
The deceased was a resident of Milton and admitted to the district hospital on March 11.
He was later transferred to Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital on March 18 around 2: a.m. and died on arrival, according to Dr. Neil Rau, an infectious disease specialist with Halton Healthcare.
“This is not someone who was perfectly healthy, but someone who was still with a good quality of life prior to his death,” said Rau.
“This is the tragic proof that we need to work together as a community to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing and taking action to protect yourself and those around you,” Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton region’s medical officer of health said.
Meghani believes the death is a case of ‘local transmission’ as the deceased did not travel out of Canada.
“What we see now is that at the moment, we know that he did not travel outside of Canada, nor does he have a link to a known COVID-19 case, and thus the indication is that there is local transmission,” said Meghani.
“We only received this information late last night. My staff are working very hard to look through, to get some more information and determine who needs to be self-isolated in the community”
On Thursday, the province said two more new cases connected to travel came from Halton region.
The province says a man in his 50s, who travelled to the U.S. and San Juan, and a woman in her 50s, connected to travel to and from Spain and Finland, tested positive for the new coronavirus.
Both are in self-isolation, according to the ministry.
Halton Region is reporting 10 positive tests since the new year.
The death is the second in Ontario, with the first being a 77-year-old man from Muskoka who was a patient at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) in Barrie, Ont.
In that case, the patient also had pre-existing health conditions, according to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.
The province on Thursday reported 251 confirmed positive tests since it began tracking earlier this year. A total of 3,972 are under investigation.
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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.
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