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Some Ontario universities, colleges warn of fake coronavirus alerts circulating online

As coronavirus spreads, so does misinformation
WATCH ABOVE: As more cases of novel coronavirus begin to spread to Canada, so does a mass amount of misinformation. And one of the biggest culprits according to experts is social media. Jamie Mauracher reports.

Three Ontario universities and colleges are warning students and the public of fake notices circulating, which supposedly report positive novel coronavirus cases on each of the institution’s campuses.

Ryerson University is aware that there are fake social media posts alleging that students have been admitted to hospital with the coronavirus today. There are no cases of coronavirus at Ryerson,” the university tweeted on Monday, referencing an image circulating online that claims that two students have tested positive for the virus.

The image appears to show Ryerson University’s website open on a computer screen with a description of a “virus outbreak.”

READ MORE: What we know about how the new coronavirus is spread

A university spokesperson told Global News in an email that the image is fictitious and there are no cases of the coronavirus at the university.

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McMaster University also released a statement on Monday, assuring the public that information spreading online about the coronavirus on its campus is false.

“A picture has been circulating of what appears to be a quarantine notice in residence related to a possible coronavirus infection,” the university tweeted.

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“McMaster has confirmed that this sign was false, and there is no cause for concern.”

Durham College also tweeted that there are no coronavirus cases on its campus after an image of people in hazmat suits gained increased attention online.

READ MORE: How the new coronavirus compares to SARS, MERS, Ebola and other diseases

Health officials have been warning Canadians to be cautious about false information online regarding the virus, known as 2019-nCoV.

As of Monday, there are more than 2,800 cases of 2019-nCoV across China and 80 deaths so far. There is a confirmed case and a presumptive case of the virus in Toronto.

Dozens of other cases have been reported in other countries.