Novel Coronavirus 2019

UPDATE: Travel Advisory for China and Hubei Province

The Government of Canada has issued travel advisories for China and Hubei Province indicating the following:
  • Avoid non-essential travel to China
  • Avoid all travel to the province of Hubei, including the cities of Wuhan, Huanggang and Ezhou

Health Canada Travel Advisory


Original Post:

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different animals, such as camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people as was seen with SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012.

On December 31, 2019, a cluster of cases of pneumonia was reported in Wuhan, China.  The cause has been confirmed as a new coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans. This virus is now known as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.

As of January 27, 2020, Toronto Public Health (TPH) has received notification of two presumptive confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in a resident who recently returned from Wuhan/China and a close contact of the first case. The first individual is stable and is hospitalized. The second individual has been in self-isolation.

Symptoms range from mild to severe:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing

What is the risk to Torontonians?

At this time, the risk to Toronto residents remains low. Toronto Public Health continues to actively monitor the situation in collaboration with provincial and national health agencies, and stakeholders that include local hospitals, airports and community agencies.

How is the virus transmitted from person to person?

Based on emerging information, reports suggest that there has been limited person-to-person spread of 2019 Novel Coronavirus. At this time, there is no clear evidence that this virus is spread easily from person to person.

Diagnosis and testing

Coronavirus infections are diagnosed by a healthcare provider based on symptoms and laboratory tests. Travel history is also important. There is a specific test for 2019-nCoV to confirm the infection if it is suspected.  Midtown Pediatrics is not equipped to test for Coronavirus at this time.  If testing is required, it is done in hospital.

What to expect from Midtown Pediatrics

The Midtown Pediatrics Team is working hard to keep up to date with this rapidly evolving situation and to maintain our usual high level of care to all our patients.  Given that it is also flu season, we are experiencing higher volumes of sick patient visits.  In order to keep all our families safe and to continue to treat as many children as possible, we have started to screen all our scheduled patients for Coronavirus.  When booking an appointment by phone or email, or upon arrival to the clinic, you will be asked the following questions:

  1. Does your child have fever and respiratory symptoms (coughing, sore throat, stuffy/runny nose, difficulty breathing)

  2. Have you or your child travelled to China in the last 14 days?

  3. Have you or your child been in close contact with any sick family members or household contacts who have travelled to China in the last 14 days?

  4. Have you or your child been in close contact with anyone with a suspected or confirmed case of Novel Corona Virus 2019 (Wuhan coronavirus or 2019-nCoV)

Anyone who answers ‘yes’ to question 1 AND ‘yes’ to any subsequent question(s) should proceed immediately to the nearest hospital for further evaluation.

How to protect yourself

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Prevention measures include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Stay home when you are ill.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Learning more

This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.  We will do our best to keep you updated.  These organizations are also constantly updating their websites to keep us up to date:

Toronto Public Health

Ontario Ministry of Health

Health Canada

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization