Whitby, Ontario, March 26, 2020 – Durham Region Health Department has received confirmation of the Region’s second and third COVID-19-related deaths. The second individual is a male in his 80s, who had a history of travel. He was hospitalized at Lakeridge Health Oshawa on March 23 and passed away on March 24. The third individual is a male in his 40s who had no history of travel. He was hospitalized at Lakeridge Health Oshawa on March 19 and passed away on March 25.
“We are truly saddened to learn of these two additional deaths in our community,” said Dr. Robert Kyle, Durham Region Medical Officer of Health. “Our sincere condolences are extended to the families of these two individuals and our thoughts are with them during this very difficult time.
“As we know, the third case had no known travel history, which indicates that community spread is occurring. We implore everyone to be especially vigilant and continue to encourage all area residents to take the practice of social and physical distancing very seriously. Please take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others in our community. Everyone’s help is urgently needed, and we have to work together to ensure community safety.”
The Health Department continues to urge residents to take every precaution to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of the community, especially those who are most at risk. Social and physical distancing, keeping at least two metres, or six feet away from others, is one of the best ways to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19. It is also strongly recommended that you:
· Wash your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer even when hands are not visibly dirty.
· Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow and encourage others to do the same.
· Wash your hands after handling nose and throat secretions (e.g. after throwing out used facial tissues).
· Avoid touching your face and cleaning hands before touching eyes, nose or mouth.
· Clean and disinfect surfaces, especially those that are high-touch areas.
· Do not share water bottles, straws, eating utensils, cigarettes, toothbrushes, toys or anything else that has been in contact with saliva, nose or throat secretions.
· If you are ill, stay at home and keep yourself away from others.
· Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
· If you are ill and must visit a health care provider, call ahead or tell them right away when you arrive that you have a respiratory illness and wear a mask while waiting to be seen.
· Practice physical distancing: do your best to keep at least two metres (six feet) away from others.
· If you are able, avoid all non-essential activity as recommended and declared by the province of Ontario.
· 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 you need further assistance, call TeleHealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider. You can also call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-668-2020 or 1-800-841-2729.
· If you or someone you know is experiencing severe symptoms, please call 911 immediately.
Area residents are encouraged to get updated information on COVID-19 by regularly reviewing credible sources of information. A list of these sources can be found by visiting durham.ca/novelcoronavirus.
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19