A novel coronavirus case has now been confirmed in London, Ont. - the third case in Ontario and just the fourth in the country. The woman, a Western University student, is recovered and well.
Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Medical Officer of Health says, "This newly confirmed case is a female in her 20s who arrived asymptomatic from the area of concern."
He added that she arrived in London via Toronto on Jan. 23, but at that time showed no symptoms. She attended hospital the following day.
On her return to Canada she was seen, assessed and admitted at the London Health Sciences Centre's (LHSC) University Hospital under full protection, so no staff was put at risk as protocols and procedures were followed, Williams says.
Dr. Michael Payne, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at LHSC said in a statement, “LHSC’s Emergency Department team took the necessary precautions...Our highly skilled medical staff were ready for the presentation of coronavirus and demonstrated the effectiveness of our precautions, practices, and protocols.”
Testing on the woman's samples originally came back negative, but the results were switched to positive on a precautionary basis after a re-test, even though it was a very weak positive case.
Also speaking in Toronto on Friday afternoon, Dr. Chris Mackie, medical officer of health for the Middlesex-London Health Unit, says the patient went above and beyond all suggested precautions.
The woman reportedly wore a surgical mask in her travel from Wuhan, China to London, even though she had no symptoms, and went straight into isolation at home and only went to hospital once she was back in London, where she continued to wear a mask.
After that, Mackie says "The patient has been and continues to be in isolation…the illness was very mild," and she recovered within a few days.
The woman, a Western University student, did not attend campus and reportedly only had contact with her partner, and continued to wear a mask at that time.
The University remains open and classes are continuing as scheduled. Visit https://t.co/4rAEGxYC4h for the most current information about the ongoing Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) situation, including updates, information about travelling abroad and contact information. #westernu— Western University (@WesternU) January 31, 2020
The health unit says they are continuing to monitor the woman daily. Her parents had reportedly been sick in a Wuhan hospital, but their symptoms were so mild they were not tested for the novel coronavirus.
The first two cases in the province were reported in a couple in Toronto.
The man in his 50s - who was the country's first case - was discharged from a Toronto hospital on Friday and is recovering at home.
He had travelled from China to Toronto last week. His wife also contracted the virus but had less severe symptoms and was already recovering in isolation at home.
The Ministry of Health confirms that all negative tests have been re-tested as well and were confirmed as negative.
The only other case reported in Canada was a person in B.C. who was also recovering in isolation at home.
Globally, around 10,000 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus, with the majority in China's Hubei province.
- With files from The Canadian Press