Elgin County’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient admitted to St. Thomas ICU

The man was taken to St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital for treatment. Google Maps / 2017

A man in his 30s who was confirmed on Monday to be Elgin County’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 has been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital in St. Thomas.

On Monday, Southwestern Public Health — which covers Oxford and Elgin counties as well as St. Thomas — confirmed that a man in his 30s had tested positive for COVID-19 “after close contact with someone outside the region who has the virus.”

A release stated that the man had been assessed, tested and released by London Health Sciences Centre and was in self-isolation.

“We are following up with any contacts of the individual and ensuring the public is aware and protected from the spread of this virus,” said medical officer of health Dr. Joyce Lock.

On Tuesday, however, officials with St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital said the man contacted paramedics and was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where he was admitted into the ICU.

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In a statement, hospital officials said the person was brought in “with all appropriate notifications and precautions.”

“[St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital] took all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of other patients, staff and physician,” the statement read.

The hospital’s president and CEO, Robert Biron, said given the global transmission of COVID-19, it wasn’t unexpected that a case would find its way to the hospital.

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“Our health-care team was ready for the presentation of COVID-19 and demonstrated the effectiveness of our planning, precautions and protocols,” Biron said in a statement.

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

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

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. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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

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