Local health unit confirms first COVID-19 case in region

Initial cases also discovered in Huron-Perth, Grey-Bruce

GUELPH – The first case of COVID-19 in this region, although not in Wellington County, was confirmed by the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health on Monday and, the virus is also beginning to show up in neighbouring counties.

As of Tuesday morning there were 186 known cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, including the first death, according to the latest numbers from provincial health officials. That’s a jump of nine cases from Monday afternoon’s official tally.

As of Tuesday morning there were more than 400 presumptive and confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the Canada, with five known deaths linked to the virus.

On March 16, Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and CEO of WDGPH, announced a man in his forties tested positive at Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville after returning from Atlanta, Georgia.

“He is now in self-isolation at home and is being followed by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health,” stated Mercer.

She added, “This does not change our protocols around containment of the COVID-19 virus in our area.

“We are following up with any contacts of the individual and ensuring the public is aware and protected from the spread of this virus. It is important to know that 80 percent of people with this virus will have mild to moderate symptoms. Anyone who is concerned should phone their health care provider, call Telehealth or visit an assessment centre.”

To protect the health of the public and prevent community spread, WDGPH is investigating and following up with close contacts.

Public health issued a reminder of the best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, are to:

– wash your hands often with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand rub;

– stay home if you’re sick;

– cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve;

– clean and disinfect high touch surfaces daily (use a disinfectant and follow manufacturer’s instructions); and

– call ahead if visiting your health care provider for infectious symptoms so they can plan to protect others from spread.

As this is an evolving situation, public health is reminding everyone about the importance of using credible sources to stay informed.

For the latest health information regarding COVID-19, visit the WDGPH website.


Huron Perth Public Health reported the first case of COVID-19 in that region on Saturday.

In a March 15 press conference in Stratford Dr. Miriam Klassen, medical officer of health for HPPH stated that the first confirmed case is a 64-year-old man who went to the emergency department at St. Marys Memorial Hospital in St. Marys on the evening of March 12 with symptoms unrelated to COVID-19.

According to Klassen, the man’s condition changed in the emergency department and it was identified that COVID-19 should be considered. Testing and precautions were then initiated immediately, and the man was later transferred to Stratford General Hospital.

According to an HPPH press release, the man recently travelled to Mexico and returned home on March 2. The patient began feeling sick with unrelated illness on March 7 and began self-isolating at home. He is currently at Stratford General Hospital in serious condition.

Huron Perth Public Health says they will continue to work with local health system partners to identify all known contacts who may have been potentially exposed to the virus and assess any potential health risk.

“We are in the process of conducting case and contact management for this patient and we will continue to update the community as more details are available,” said Dr. Klassen.

Dr. Klassen added that having a confirmed case in the region is not unexpected.

“Having a confirmed case in our area is not unexpected given the transmission of this virus globally,” said Dr. Klassen. “Although it is concerning to have a confirmed case, it’s important to remember that as a community and as a health system, we have been preparing for COVID-19. Our focus is on breaking the chain of transmission to limit the spread of infection. The risk to Huron-Perth residents remains low.”

Bruce and Grey

The Grey Bruce Health Unit confirmed their first two cases of COVID-19 on March 15.

Health officials announced on Sunday that the two patients likely acquired the illness from contact on a cruise ship. The pair was notified as part of contact tracing from a confirmed case on the cruise ship, to present to a local healthcare facility, and tested.

The confirmed cases are a man and a woman, both 58 years old, related, and residents of Grey Bruce. One of the individuals works at the Owen Sound Hospital. This person is at home and feeling well, and does not provide patient care, and was not experiencing any symptoms while working at Grey Bruce Health Serices, officials stated.

The two are currently self-isolating.

“As appropriate infection control measures were followed, this first case does not change the over-all low likelihood of individuals in Grey Bruce catching the virus,” said Medical Office of Health Dr. Ian Arra. “Residents should continue to protect themselves and others around them from the spread of germs and viruses by taking the usual precautions including frequent handwashing.”

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Community News Staff