First case of COVID-19 in Renfrew County

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The Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU) has confirmed the first positive laboratory-confirmed case of novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) in the region.

The health unit issued a statement late Wednesday that a woman in her 90s developed symptoms and was tested by Pembroke Regional Hospital (PRH) on March 23, 2020. She is currently an inpatient at PRH.

“This individual is a resident of a local retirement home and has no recent history of travel,” the health unit said.

“All necessary precautions were followed to ensure the safety of the patient, the public, and the health care workers. The individual is currently on isolation at Pembroke Regional Hospital.

“RCDHU is working with both the hospital and the retirement home to identify people who could have been exposed and will deliver specific instructions to these individuals on self-isolation and self-monitoring for symptoms.

“RCDHU will assume close contacts are probable cases if they develop symptoms.”

“We know that confirmed cases represent only a fraction of disease activity in the community. For every one confirmed case there are probably 10 cases out in the community and quite possibly 100,” said Dr. Robert Cushman, Acting Medical Officer of Health.

“The message is clear. COVID-19 is in Eastern Ontario and in Renfrew County.”

The health unit is reminding area residents that the best way to “prevent further spread and to reduce the risk of significant illness” is to follow “social distancing” instructions, including staying home unless otherwise necessary, and maintaining a distance outside your home of at least two metres from other people.

If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, first self-isolate and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to seek further care.

If you need further assistance, call TeleHealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider. You can also call Renfrew County and District Health Unit at 613-735-8654.

To read the health unit’s full press release, click here.