The public health authority in Waterloo Region is reporting the first cases of community transmission of the novel coronavirus.
In a news release on Thursday, Public Health said a woman in her twenties who tested positive for COVID-19 does not have a history of recent travel or contact with a confirmed case.
Public Health said she developed symptoms on March 11 and was tested at St. Mary’s General Hospital on March 13.
She is now self-isolating at home.
“It has been determined that this individual is an employee of St. Mary’s General Hospital and was symptomatic while at work on March 13,” according to the release. “The individual does not provide direct patient care.”
St. Mary’s and Public Health are now working to identify any individual who may have been in close contact with the woman.
The Region of Waterloo’s acting medical officer of health says they were expecting this and they have been preparing.
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“We have implemented measures to restrict gatherings and promote social distancing,” Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said. “While we will see more cases in the coming days and weeks, these measures will help slow down the spread of COVID-19. I ask everyone to do their part to help us ‘flatten the curve.'”
According to a list on the region’s website, there are 12 confirmed cases as of Thursday morning.
Another woman in her twenties was tested at an assessment centre in Toronto with the cause also being blamed on community transmission, although no details of her case were provided.
She is self-isolating at home.
Two confirmed cases remain hospitalized at Grand River Hospital: a man in his 40s and a woman in her 50s, who both contracted the virus while travelling.
Ontario health officials say there are 43 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday. The provincial total now jumps to 251 active cases.
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