Coronavirus cases in Ontario are dropping, top doctor says

Ontario health officials say they're still monitoring 29 people to determine if they've contracted coronavirus, but overall the number of potential cases is dropping. 

Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer, and Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the province's associate chief medical officer, spoke to media at Queen's Park Monday morning, as the number of confirmed cases globally surpassed 17,000.

Williams says it has been 11 days since China imposed strict travel restrictions that prevent people from leaving Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province, where the virus originated, and the first wave of people who had been in Hubei province before the quarantine was imposed is now slowing. 

He adds that the number of coronavirus cases being submitted and investigated seem to be dropping in Ontario but vowed officials will continue monitoring the situation closely.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, 108 tests have been conducted in Ontario. Three cases have tested positive, two of which located in Toronto and another in London, Ont. 

76 cases have tested negative, along with three presumptive negatives. Officials say the result of 26 cases are still pending. 

Yaffe said the majority of cases under investigation meet the case definition, which says that the person would have been in Hubei province within the past 14 days and have a fever or cough.

Pierre-Olivier Bernatchez/CBC

She said, however, there are a small number who came from other parts of China and have symptoms.

"The physician taking care of the patient felt there was concern and wanted the [coronavirus] testing done," she said.

Health officials have found that coronavirus symptoms can appear up to 14 days after exposure, but Williams says it tends to be more like seven to nine days in young people.

Public Health Ontario says that it will hold bi-weekly briefings as authorities in China and abroad work to contain the potentially deadly virus.

Four cases have been confirmed in Canada, three in Ontario and another in B.C. All three people infected in Ontario are "at home and doing well", Williams said.  

Williams says they are working with the federal government to help repatriate Canadians who have requested to be evacuated from China. 

The federal government plans to fly out a number of Canadians to a military base in Trenton Ont. 

Williams says they are trying to set it up the process properly to ensure the health of the those coming into the country and for the health of all Canadians. 

He ensured that there will be heavy screening before and after the flight. Those coming into the country will be required to remain at the point of entry for a 14-day period. 

Chinese officials say the virus has killed at least 362 people there. Some 146 cases have also been confirmed in 23 other countries.