What is COVID-19?
On December 31, 2019, a cluster of cases of pneumonia was reported in Wuhan, China, and the cause has been confirmed as a new coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans. This virus is now known as COVID-19 (previously called 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV). The extent and severity of illness caused by the COVID-19 virus is still not fully known.
There are now confirmed cases of COVID-19 that have been identified in many countries, including Canada. The current situation is evolving. New information is becoming available daily and a clearer picture is being formed as this information is analyzed by provincial, national and international health agencies.
The Ontario Ministry of Health has added COVID-19 as a designated disease reportable under Ontario's public health legislation. Physicians, hospitals and other healthcare facilities are now required to report any suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 to their local medical officer of health.
What are coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). Some coronaviruses transmit easily from person to person, while others do not. There is now evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 coronavirus in some countries.