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Ontario reports 2 new coronavirus cases, bringing province's total to 20

Last Updated Mar 3, 2020 at 1:08 pm EDT

A healthcare professional adjusts her mask during a demonstration of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) procedures at Toronto Western Hospital on October 17, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Ontario now has 20 cases of the novel coronavirus, with two new people added to the tally on Tuesday.

Minister of Health Christine Elliott said one person was travelling from Iran and the other from Egypt. These new cases are in the GTA and they are at home in self-isolation.

“We are working very actively on containment,” she said at a press conference. “However, should the situation escalate, we have a detailed plan in place. The command table has already been in touch with each other … we can escalate as we need to but the system is working … and the risk to Ontarians remains low.”

She added that many lessons were learned from the SARS outbreak in 2003 and a lot pf “protocols were put in place for health professionals to collaborate.”

The creation of a “command table” was announced Monday after three new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Ontario. Various groups on regional planning, emergency operations, scientific advice and ethics will assemble and the “command table, involving health officials and executives, will take the lead and report to Elliott.

Of the 20 cases confirmed in Ontario, three have been fully resolved and the remaining 17 are in self-isolation at home. Elliott added that officials are following up with people that may have been in contact with those patients.

A spate of new cases have been reported over the past few days, all of them people who had recently travelled to Iran or Egypt, or family members of those who had visited the countries.

The province’s first four cases were people with a travel history to China, where the outbreak originated, and three of those have since been completely cleared of the virus.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, has said the virus known as COVID-19 doesn’t appear to be spreading locally at this time.

The new Ontario cases bring Canada’s total to 29, with eight cases in British Columbia and one in Quebec.