coronavirus montreal

Montreal now has its first case of coronavirus

The fourteenth presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus in Canada has just been diagnosed in Montreal, marking the first person in the province of Quebec to have the illness.

All previous cases within Canada have been in Ontario and B.C. (Though there are 47 additional Canadians aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship who tested positive for the virus and are being treated overseas).

The patient is a woman who recently returned from Iran, which has become a new hotspot for the communicable disease. Her symptoms are mild enough that she is now recovering in isolation at home.

The province's minister of health, Danielle McCann, made the announcement yesterday evening at a press conference, adding that the woman hasn't been exposed to the public through work, transit or other contact since she returned from her trip, which arrived in Montreal via Qatar earlier this week.

As a precaution, the patient's immediate family has also apparently been placed under isolation.

McCann told the CBC that Quebecers should, along with frequently washing their hands, avoid their usual greetings of handshakes and two-cheek kisses, which are the province's "traditional, cultural way to do it."

Still, as Canadian health officials have continued to assure, she said the risk to residents of Canada is low and there is no cause for panic.

The Quebec patient's final test results will be confirmed by the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg by March 1, but she is presumed to be positive for the virus at this time following a test conducted locally that yielded positive results.

The province currently has 21 other individuals under investigation for COVID-19, while Ontario, which just diagnosed its fifth and sixth cases this week, is investigating 22 other potential cases. The fifth most recent confirmed case in Ontario also stemmed from Iran, while the sixth is the partner of that traveler.

At the time of publication, there have been more than 82,000 cases of the novel caronavirus worldwide — an estimated 2,800 or so of them fatal — in at least 48 countries since the first outbreak in Wuhan, China in December.

Nearly 37,000 people have recovered from the illness, and less than 3 per cent of deaths caused by it have been outside of mainland China. An approximate 80 per cent or more of cases present with mild symptoms, and the novel virus is most concerning for the elderly and already immunocompromised, and/or those without access to good health care.

Officials in Canada have recently vowed to start more "actively" looking for cases of COVID-19 in communities across the country as they prepare for its pandemic potential.

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