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First confirmed case of COVID-19 in Peterborough area: health unit

Peterborough Public Health has confirmed the first COVID-19 case in the Peterborough-area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML

Health officials have confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 in the Peterborough area.

Late Sunday afternoon, Peterborough Public Health announced that on March 12, a man in his 30s visited Peterborough Regional Health Centre’s emergency department experiencing fever, dry cough and a headache.

He informed clinical staff he had recently travelled to Spain and Portugal.

READ MORE: City of Kawartha Lakes has first confirmed case of COVID-19: health unit

He was isolated and tested for COVID-19 and discharged home the same day. The patient, per protocols, went into self-isolation where he remains with followups to come, the health unit stated.

The patient’s home community was not provided.

The health unit’s jurisdiction includes the City of Peterborough, Peterborough County, Hiawatha First Nation and Curve Lake First Nation.

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Peterborough Public Health is actively engaging in contact tracing and case management, including following up with the individual and his close contacts.

“Having a confirmed case in our area is not unexpected given the transmission of this virus around the world,” stated Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, medical officer of health.

“Hopefully this news about the first local case helps reinforce the importance of public health measures in place such as school closures and event cancellations, as well as personal precautions like social distancing and regular handwashing.”

READ MORE: Woman tests positive for coronavirus in Cobourg, Ont., hospital: health officials

Dr. Lynn Mikula, chief of staff and chief medical officer of PRHC, said the hospital team responded “quickly and professionally” with the appropriate precautions and protocols to ensure the safety of those in the emergency department and the hospital.

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“Beginning Monday, March 16, patients and visitors will see additional active screening measures, limited hospital entry points and restrictions for visitors and volunteers, and we continue to ask people to delay coming to the hospital for any non-urgent appointments, procedures or visits,” she said.

“Thank you in advance to the people of our community and region for their cooperation and diligence, including practising excellent hand cleaning and social distancing, as we work to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep our patients, visitors, health-care professionals, staff and volunteers safe.”

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It’s the health unit’s first case. Nearby cases have been confirmed in Northumberland County and City of Kawartha Lakes by the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

READ MORE: Drive-thru COVID-19 assessment centre opens at Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay, Ont.

Anyone who has travelled and arrived back to Canada and is showing signs of fever, cough or difficulty breathing within 14 days of returning to Canada are advised to self-isolate as quickly as possible and contact health-care professionals or Peterborough Public Health.

Peterborough Mayor Diane Therrien said city staff will be meeting Monday morning to further discuss measures. In a tweet she encouraged residents to continue social distancing as much as possible.

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Peterborough Public Health has scheduled a press conference on Monday afternoon for further updates.

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

Health officials say the risk for Canadians is low.

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 social distancing, frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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