Coronavirus: Guelph’s 1st COVID-19 case confirmed at St. Joseph’s Health Centre

Public Health officials say a man in his 80s has become the first case of the novel coronavirus in Guelph.

According to a news release on Tuesday, the man who tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is a resident at St. Joseph’s Health Centre on Westmount Street.

He is a patient in one of the post-acute units and is listed in stable condition.

Public Health said it is working closely with the health centre to ensure the man and the facility are managed appropriately.

“Public Health routinely works with hospitals, long-term care facilities and retirement homes to manage ill individuals and to prevent outbreaks through appropriate infection control measures,” Public Health said in a statement.

In its own statement, St. Joseph’s said the news is concerning, but strong processes are already in place.

The health centre is already screening everyone who visits the facility, restricting visitors and closing outpatient and ambulatory programs.

“We are all thinking about our staff, our patients and their families at this time,” said St. Joseph’s president David Wormald.

The first case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in Wellington County on Sunday after a 66-year-old man tested positive for COVID-19 at a Mount Forest hospital.

Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health, said these cases further emphasize the importance of social distancing.

“We know that COVID-19 is circulating in our community,” she said in a statement. “We are asking members of our community to stay home as much as possible and to avoid visits to hospitals, long-term care facilities, or retirement homes unless absolutely essential.”

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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