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Renfrew County reports first confirmed case of coronavirus

The first confirmed COVID-19 case in Renfrew County is a woman in her 90s, the local health unit says.
The first confirmed COVID-19 case in Renfrew County is a woman in her 90s, the local health unit says. AP Photo file

The health unit for Renfrew County, west of Ottawa, reported its first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday night.

A woman in her 90s with “no recent history of travel” tested positive for COVID-19, the Renfrew County and District Health Unit said in a statement.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Man in his 90s becomes first Ottawa resident to die from COVID-19

The woman, a resident of a local retirement home, developed symptoms and was tested by Pembroke Regional Hospital on March 23, the statement said.

She remains in isolation at the hospital as an inpatient, according to the health unit.

“We know that confirmed cases represent only a fraction of disease activity in the community. For every one confirmed case, there are probably 10 cases out in the community and quite possibly 100,” Dr. Robert Cushman, the unit’s acting medical officer of health, said in the statement.

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“The message is clear. COVID-19 is in eastern Ontario and in Renfrew County.”

The county’s health unit said it’s working with the hospital and the woman’s retirement home to identify anyone who may have been exposed to the virus.

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If any of the woman’s close contacts develop symptoms, the health unit will “assume” they are “probable cases,” the statement said.

The health unit urged residents to keep practising physical distancing and to avoid non-essential trips into the community.

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According to its website, the health unit serves Renfrew County, Pembroke, South Algonquin Township and most of Algonquin Provincial Park.

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In Ottawa, the city’s public health unit was investigating 43 confirmed and indeterminate cases of the novel coronavirus as of Wednesday morning.