First Case of COVID-19 Reported by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit


Today, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 in the health unit’s area. The female in her 30s is from Prescott Russell, and presented herself to the emergency department at the Glengarry Memorial Hospital in Alexandria on March 12, 2020.

The hospital took all necessary precautions and followed standard operating procedures, including infection control, testing, and assessment. Following testing, the patient was discharged home where she remains in self-isolation, following Public Health direction and is improving. The patient experienced mild symptoms of cough as well as generalized aches and pain.

While the public health investigation is ongoing, it is known that the individual returned from a trip to New York City on March 9, 2020 and developed symptoms 2 days later. The EOHU is actively engaged in the process of following up with a small number of close contacts of the individual.

“Having a confirmed case in our area is not unexpected given the transmission of this virus around the world,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “This is a case imported from outside of Canada. Our current containment process aims to identify and isolate individuals to limit the spread into our community and it is working.”

“At this point, we do not have any local community spread and the risk remains low for our region,” states Dr. Roumeliotis. “We will continue to work collectively through personal hygiene precautions and community-based public health measures (such as social distancing, school closures and limiting mass gatherings) to contain the virus as much as possible.”

The EOHU is working closely with the ministry of Health, local hospitals, health care providers, as well as provincial and national partners to monitor and detect any cases of COVID-19 in the community.

To reduce the spread of germs including the flu and COVID-19, the EOHU recommends that you:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just cleaned your hands
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres if you’re sick

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.