**Updated March 24**
On Tuesday, March 24, it was revealed the man was admitted to St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital intensive care unit Monday night, arriving by ambulance. “Having a confirmed case in our hospital is not unexpected given the transmission of this virus globally,” said Robert Biron, STEGH president and CEO. There were no immediate updates on his condition.
Previously, Southwestern Public Health confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the region (Elgin-St. Thomas-Oxford-Woodstock) via news release, Monday, March 23, 2020. The release said the male in his 30s is currently in self-isolation at home and being monitored, following assessment and testing at LHSC. Health unit representatives later confirmed that the man was from Elgin County. He had come in close contact with someone from outside the region who has the virus. The health unit said they would be following up with close contacts of the individual.
It was noted that the best practises to prevent the spread of the virus are physical distancing (2m distance between people), washing hands thoroughly with soap and water, to stay home if sick and to clean high touch surfaces daily.
The Southwestern Public Health news release in full:
Southwestern Public Health Confirms First Case of COVID-19
This is the first case of novel coronavirus confirmed in Oxford County, Elgin County or the City of St. Thomas
Dr. Joyce Lock, Medical Officer of Health for Southwestern Public Health has confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 in the region. A male in his 30s tested positive for COVID-19 after close contact with someone outside the region who has the virus.
This individual was assessed, tested and released by London Heath Sciences Centre. They are now in self-isolation at home and being followed by Southwestern Public Health.
“This does not change our protocols around containment of the COVID-19 virus in our area,” said Dr. Lock. “We are following up with any contacts of the individual and ensuring the public is aware and protected from the spread of this virus. It is important to know that most people with this virus will have mild to moderate symptoms. Anyone who is concerned should phone their health care provider, Telehealth Ontario or public health about next steps.”
To protect the health of the public and prevent community spread, Southwestern Public Health is investigating and following up with close contacts.
The best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, are to:
• Practice social distancing. Put two metres between yourself and others when you are out in the community.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand rub.
• Stay home if you’re sick.
• Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces daily. Use a disinfectant and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
In order to serve as a credible source of information for the community related to COVID-19, Southwestern Public Health updates its social media channels and website daily.
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19
The STEGH news release in full:
St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital Confirms First Case of COVID-19
On March 23, Southwestern Public Health announced the first positive case of COVID-19 in Elgin County. A male in his 30s had tested positive for COVID-19 after close contact with someone outside the region who has the virus. The individual was medically assessed, tested and released by London Heath Sciences Centre, and had been in self-isolation at home.
Last night, this individual contacted EMS and with all appropriate notifications and precautions, he arrived at STEGH by ambulance and was admitted to the ICU. STEGH took all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of other patients, staff and physicians.
“Having a confirmed case in our hospital is not unexpected given the transmission of this virus globally,” says Robert Biron, President and CEO. “Our health care team was ready for the presentation of COVID-19, and demonstrated the effectiveness of our planning, precautions and protocols.”
The Ontario Government has launched an online self-assessment tool that takes the public through a series of questions to inform those who are concerned they may have contracted COVID-19. In a matter of seconds, this tool will help people determine if they are negative or it will provide them with guidance on where to seek care based on their needs. https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/#q0