First COVID-19 case in Kawartha Lakes: Woman now in self-isolation

By Lindsay Advocate

Farm country, Canadian Shield…anything but “cottage country”

The local Medical Officer of Health today announced a positive case of COVID-19 in the City of Kawartha Lakes. The affected person is a woman in her 60s who lives in Kawartha Lakes.

The individual was seen at the Ross Memorial Hospital on Thursday, March 12 after presenting with symptoms and travel to Germany. The woman had travelled on Air Canada flight 877 from Frankfurt, Germany to Toronto on March 10, 2020.

The patient was discharged home and remains in self-isolation with follow up from the HKPR District Health Unit. Health Unit nurses have been in contact with the woman and are working with her to identify anyone she may have been in contact with while ill. If anyone who travelled on Air Canada flight 877 on that date develops flu-like symptoms, they are asked to call their local public health unit.

Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, Medical Officer of Health for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit says the Health Unit has been working closely with Ross Memorial Hospital to ensure measures were put in place in anticipation of a positive case and that hospital staff took the appropriate precautions to isolate the woman so there was no risk to anyone else at the hospital at that time. This is the second confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Health Unit’s area. The first was announced yesterday in a resident of Northumberland County.

“Although we are now seeing travel-related cases in our communities, it’s important for people to remember that most people who have had COVID-19 have had mild symptoms and recovered fully at home,” says Dr. Noseworthy.

With a case now in Kawartha Lakes, Dr. Noseworthy says it’s important for people to remember the following to help stop the spread of illness:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose as much as possible;
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands;
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm;
  • Stay home if you or a family member are ill;
  • If you are ill and must visit a healthcare provider, clinic, or hospital emergency department, call ahead or tell them right away when you arrive that you have a respiratory illness and wear a mask while waiting to be seen; and

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, people are asked to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada.

If you have travelled and develop flu-like symptoms, contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-000, or call the HKPR District Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5020. If symptoms are severe, call 911 and alert the dispatcher to the potential concern regarding COVID-19 so they can be appropriately prepared.

“Our team quickly implemented all established protocols and precautions, ensuring the safety of patients, visitors, staff and physicians” says Veronica Nelson, Interim President and CEO, Ross Memorial Hospital.  “At this time, all care and services are operational. We are introducing active screening measures, limiting hospital entry points, and introducing restrictions to visiting and volunteering, which will be shared on our website. We thank everyone for their patience during this time.”

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