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Positive cases of COVID-19 reported among Toronto Public Health staff
Kayla Goodfield and Katherine DeClerq, CP24.com
Published Monday, March 30, 2020 1:58PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 31, 2020 8:01AM EDT
Eight people working at Toronto Public Health have tested positive for COVID-19.
Officials within the public health unit, which is located in downtown Toronto near Dundas Street East and Victoria Street, confirmed the positive cases to CTV News Toronto on Monday.
“We recently learned that some of our colleagues at 277 Victoria Street contracted COVID-19,” a statement read. “Given that COVID-19 is spreading in our community, we were prepared for this unfortunate situation.”
“We carefully assessed this matter and asked our staff to work from home today.”
The employees who tested positive for the virus are recovering at home in self-isolation, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa said Monday afternoon.
As with all cases of the novel coronavirus in the city, public health officials said they are investigating “where they may have gotten the infection,” as well as working to “identify their close contacts.”
“We then follow up directly with the person’s close contacts, or through the employer, to assess potential risk and provide further instructions, as needed.”
While employees of the public health unit were all asked to work from home on Monday, only those who had “close and prolonged contact with a COVID-19 positive case is considered at risk.”
“We have communicated directly with these individuals,” the statement said. “We have also conducted a deep cleaning and disinfection throughout our office.”
“Since COVID-19 is not spread through the air, a building is not considered at risk if there is a case in a building.”
No further details regarding the infected patients at Toronto Public Health have been released by officials.
Speaking to reporters, de Villa confirmed that by 1 p.m. on Monday, another 50 positive cases of the virus had been confirmed, bringing the tally of Toronto COVID-19 patients to 591.
Among the 591 cases recorded in the city, de Villa said that 12 are physicians, 13 are nurses and six others are health-care staff.
“As I’ve said before, these numbers are constantly changing and we should expect them to increase in the coming days or weeks."
Sixty-seven people have been hospitalized because of COVID-19 and 30 remain in the Intensive Care Unit.
About 24 per cent of cases in Toronto are attributed to community spread, de Villa added.
Six people have died in Toronto, including a man in his 70s who was hospitalized at Scarborough Hospital and a man in his 80s, who was at St. Michael’s Hospital.
Both men were hospitalized last week.
“I extend my sincerest and deepest condolences to the family and friends of these two men who passed away,” de Villa said.
There have been more than 1,700 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Ontario thus far, including 33 deaths.
Nearly 50,000 people have been tested for the virus in the province to date.