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Ontario confirms 8 more COVID-19 cases, first potential coronavirus-related death reported in province

Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario health officials outline specific criteria for those seeking COVID-19 test
Dr. Barbara, Associate Medical Officer of Health for Toronto Public Health, told reporters on Tuesday what specific criteria the province was outlining for those seeking a COVID-19 test, saying their biggest concern is over-testing what she called the "worried well."

Ontario health officials have announced eight new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus bringing the provincial total of active cases to 180. The province also reported its first death that’s potentially related to COVID-19 — a man in his 70s in Barrie

Numbers released on Ontario’s website on Tuesday show that five of the new cases are from Hamilton, two are from Middlesex-London region and one is from York Region.

All patients are listed as self-isolating. Form of transmission for seven patients are listed as pending, one case from York Region is listed as having travelled to Costa Rica.

Coronavirus outbreak: 186 total cases of COVID-19 in province as of Tuesday
Coronavirus outbreak: 186 total cases of COVID-19 in province as of Tuesday

Barbara Yaffe, associate chief medical officer of health, said that 75 per cent of cases were related to travel outside of Canada, with 29 per cent coming from the US.

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When asked about who should be being tested, Yaffe said the “most important thing to keep in mind is that we don’t want anyone tested who does not have symptoms.”

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“The most important thing to keep in mind Is that we don’t want anyone tested who do not have symptoms.”

READ MORE: Ontario government declares state of emergency amid coronavirus pandemic

The province has five resolved cases. More than 11,000 patients have been tested for COVID-19 so far.

Ontario health officials said the lab has been able to modify its testing methodology and are now able to test almost 2,000 samples a day. The hope is to get to the capacity to test 5,000 day.

Late Tuesday morning, Health Minister Christine Elliott confirmed to Global News that a 77-year-old man has died, possibly as a result of close contact with another positive coronavirus case in Muskoka. The man wasn’t confirmed to have contracted the virus until it was found in his system post-death, Elliott said.

“The matter, at our request, is now being investigated by the Coroner’s office to determine whether this person passed away because of COVID-19 or with COVID-19. That’s a really important distinction,” Elliott said adding that they will not officially know for at least one day. She added that the deceased had other physical problems.

Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario health officials outline specific criteria for those seeking COVID-19 test
Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario health officials outline specific criteria for those seeking COVID-19 test

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer David Williams said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon that he understands people are scared and anxious but overall he said “overall that Ontarians are responding well in hailing this crisis.”

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“During this time it’s very important that we have a combination of consistent messaging, proper timely messaging and to inform the public.”

“We’re asking for one to not be scared but for one to be aware and know what’s happening.”

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If confirmed, this would be Ontario’s first confirmed death of COVID-19.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Mayor Tory announces further closures of non-essential city services

The Ontario government announced a provincial state of emergency on Tuesday.

However, Williams said it is not a “heightened emergency state but it’s a heightened state of emergency response by the provincial government.”