TORONTO — A woman in her 60s who recently travelled to Iran has become the fifth person to contract the novel coronavirus in Ontario, as the province’s monitoring of the virus widens.
The woman became sick with a cough, sore throat, aches and occasional fever after arriving in Toronto, the city’s top health official said Wednesday. She went Monday night to the emergency department of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where precautions were followed, Dr. Eileen de Villa said.
She is at home in self-isolation, as are two of her close family members, she said.
While most previous patients diagnosed with the virus known as COVID-19 had recently spent time in China — the epicentre of the global outbreak that’s infected an estimated 80,000 people so far — the Toronto woman’s recent travel history centred on Iran, where a rash of new cases has recently emerged.
“It’s not surprising to learn of this news as we have a very mobile population with a lot of international travel,” de Villa said about the new case. “So it’s quite likely that we will continue to see more people presenting with symptoms and a travel history to affected areas in the world.”
Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, said several countries have now been added to a list of areas of concern. That list now includes China, Japan, Hong Kong, Italy, Iran, Singapore and South Korea.
Ontario has identified four previous cases of COVID-19 in the province. While three of them have since been cleared, a new case was diagnosed in Toronto over the weekend.
Officials said that patient, a woman in her 20s, had recently returned from China and is considered to have a mild case of the virus.
Seven cases have been identified in British Columbia, including some linked to recent travel to Iran.