Severity: Informational Alert

Health: Imported cases of COVID-19 reported in select areas of British Columbia and Ontario, Canada, Feb. 2020. Risk to wider public is low.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Toronto, Ont.
  • Vancouver, B.C.
  • Calgary, Alta.
  • Montreal, Que.
  • Winnipeg, Man.
  • Saskatoon, Sask.
  • Edmonton, Alta.
  • Whistler, B.C.
  • Victoria, B.C.
  • London, Ont.
  • Fredericton, N.B.
  • Nanaimo, B.C.
  • Williams Lake, B.C.

This alert began 14 Mar 2020 04:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 28 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), some local transmission
  • Location(s): Multiple provinces and territories (map)
  • Period: January-March 2020
  • Cases: 198

Summary
Canadian authorities have identified a total of 198 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) according to data through March 13. Cases have occurred primarily in Ontario (79 cases among London, Niagara, Ottawa, Toronto, Waterloo, and York) followed by British Columbia (64 cases, primarily in and near Vancouver). Cases have also occurred in the provinces and territories of Alberta (29 cases), Manitoba (4 cases), New Brunswick (1 case), Quebec (17 cases), and Saskatchewan (2 cases).

Background and Analysis
These figures include Canadians who returned following quarantine on a cruise ship. The US CDC maintains an "Alert-Level 2" travel health notice for the global COVID-19 outbreak. This indicates older individuals and people of any age with chronic medical conditions or otherwise compromised immunity should consider postponing nonessential travel and take special precautions to avoid becoming ill, especially where sustained community transmission of COVID-19 has been identified. All individuals should monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning from travel.

Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Advice
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO advice for international travel

WHO coronavirus knowledge base

US CDC Global COVID-19 Travel Health Notice

WHO: Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19

US CDC: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers