First Case of COVID-19 in Thunder Bay District

First Case of COVID-19 Confirmed in Thunder Bay Distrit

March 27, 2020 - Today, Dr. Janet DeMille, Medical Officer of Health of the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU), confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the TBDHU region.

A male in his sixties who resides in Thunder Bay is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 for TBDHU. His spouse is considered a probable case. The couple had recently returned from a week-long stay in Florida. Upon their return, they remained in isolation at home. Subsequently, both developed symptoms and phoned the TBDHU. They were tested the following day at the COVID-19 Assessment Center operated by the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. The man’s test result was received by TBDHU overnight on March 26. The spouse’s results are still pending and have been expedited.

Following testing, both people have remained in self-isolation at home, following public health guidance. With the positive result, TBDHU has been in contact with the couple. At this time, it appears all appropriate precautions were taken and further spread of the virus is unlikely. TBDHU will continue to follow up with the couple.

“Travellers returning to the Thunder Bay District from other countries, including the United States, pose a risk in that they can bring the COVID-19 virus back to this area,” notes Dr. Janet DeMille. “All returning travellers must take the appropriate precautions to ensure that they are not spreading the virus to others when they return to the Thunder Bay District.”

This expectation was reinforced this week with the order issued by the Federal Minister of Health, the Honourable Patty Hadju, under the federal Quarantine Act. The order directs all returning travelers to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to Canada and provides for significant penalties if this is violated.

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 individuals in self-isolation develop symptoms, they should contact the Thunder Bay District Health Unit at (807) 625-5900 or toll-free: 1-888-294-6630.

General Reminder:

To reduce the spread of viruses, including the flu and the COVID-19, the TBDHU recommends that you:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least twenty seconds with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth Media Release
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand
  • Stay home if you are sick 
  • Practice social (physical) distancing by avoiding close contact with other people. This means staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others.

For additional information about COVID-19 and the TBDHU area, please see the TBDHU website\coronavirus and social media channels. Additional updates will also be provided as needed.


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