Coronavirus: St. Catharines man tests positive for COVID-19

Ottawa's total number of COVID-19 cases hit 643 on Wednesday. Matthew Bingley / Global News

A man in his 80s is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Niagara region, according to Niagara Region Public Health (NRPH).

In a release, the agency said the 84-year-old man was picked up by paramedics in St. Catharines on Tuesday for an unrelated health condition.

He was subsequently tested for COVID-19 and it came back positive on Thursday, according to Dr. Karim Ali from the infectious diseases division.

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“The patient is currently in an isolation room undergoing treatment by our infectious diseases team to manage his symptoms and is in stable condition,” said Ali in a statement.

“We will continue to take every possible step to ensure the safety of our staff, physicians, patients and families.”

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The man is listed in stable condition and an investigation into how he contracted COVID-19 and who he may have come in contact with is now underway.

NRPH said the man does not have any recent travel history, however, a family member recently returned from Portugal.

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Health officials suspect that family member – now in isolation – is the source of infection.

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Niagara Health says it will be setting up two assessment centres to screen for COVID-19. It’s expected that the locations will be announced next week.

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Concerned about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is very low for Canadians, but they caution against travel to affected areas (a list can be found here). If you do travel to these places, they recommend you self-monitor to see whether you develop symptoms and if you do, to contact public health authorities.

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.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

Visit full COVID-19 coverage on Global News.

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