Health Officials Quiet Coronavirus Fears in Windsor Essex

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There are no cases of coronavirus in Essex County, despite rumours swirling on social media.

At Thursday night's board meeting, Windsor Regional Hospital President and CEO David Musyj confirmed around five tests were performed in Windsor-Essex.

Musyj tells AM800 News, if the virus outbreak from China reached Windsor the public would know pretty quickly.

"People have to be confident that, if we do have a confirmed case, we will report it immediately to the community," says Musyj. "There are no confirmed cases as I stand her right now."

He says there are very strict criteria for coronavirus testing handed down by Public Health Ontario.

"It's not even directed by us. We have to communicate with Public Health Ontario and we have to present all of the clinical symptoms and travel history of a particular patient to them," says Musyj. "There's a clinical decision on whether they even qualify for a test."

Musyj adds, there's a 14 day incubation period, meaning, if you show no signs or symptoms in two weeks, you don't have it.

"Someone that travelled to Wuhan Province 21 or 28 days ago that's showing symptoms now, they're not going to qualify," he says. "That doesn't mean you won't get tested, but chances are you're not fitting the case guideline in respect to coronavirus."

Wajid Ahmed is the Officer of Medical Health for The Windsor Essex County Healthy Unit.

He reminds residents that 99 percent of cases remain in China.

"People who died are mainly ... older than 60; that's our target or high risk population. As of now there is no case so we're not able to say if it applies here or not," he says.

Ahmed assures residents that health officials are ready to deal with any outbreak that could come through Windsor-Essex.

"There's been a lot of communication back and forth with all the key healthcare providers in the community," says Ahmed. "We are working closely with all our partners to make sure that we have a sound plan and we're working on that plan to make sure that the community is protected."

With only five cases of coronavirus confirmed in Canada, Ahmed is reminding the public to be more worried about influenza.

Influenza can be deadly for the elderly, small children, and those with existing illnesses that compromise their immune systems.

He says to continue washing hands regularly, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and if you've come down with the flu, stay home until you're well.