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Coronavirus: First COVID-19-related death reported in Middlesex-London

In this file photo, a nurse works in the room of a patient who has tested positive for the COVID-19.
In this file photo, a nurse works in the room of a patient who has tested positive for the COVID-19. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Ontario’s Middlesex London Health Unit is reporting the first local death related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The death was a man in his 70s who had returned from Portugal earlier this month. Health Officials say he passed away Friday night.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of this man’s passing and extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends,” says Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health and CEO of the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

“We are asking everyone to recognize the seriousness of this virus and how important it is to limit its spread.”

The man initially tested positive for COVID-19 on March 19 at the London Health Sciences Centre. Health officials have been in communications with his close contacts, who they say have been in self-isolation and are being closely monitored.

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What is physical distancing?
What is physical distancing?

“Please exercise physical distancing, limit any contact with others and only go out to buy supplies when it is necessary. What we do right now will affect how the local situation develops over the coming days and weeks,” Mackie said.

The fatality is in addition to the 18 people who have already died from COVID-19 in the province, three of which were reported on Friday.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 2 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Middlesex-London

On Saturday, the Middlesex London Health Unit reported two new confirmed COVID-19 cases bringing the total number of cases in the region to 25.

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

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Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

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.

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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.