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17 new coronavirus cases in Ontario including infant baby boy

Last Updated Mar 12, 2020 at 3:00 pm EST

A lab worker tries to isolate the presence of coronavirus during a swab test process. GETTY IMAGES/Emanuele Cremaschi

Ontario has confirmed 17 new cases of COVID-19, including an infant baby boy, bringing the total number in the province to 59.

The majority of the new cases are in the Toronto region with 9 while Peel Region and Waterloo Region each reported two new cases while Hamilton, Ottawa and Simcoe-Muskoka public health officials reported one new case each.

Health officials say one of the cases is a baby boy, who was in close contact with another patient and attended North York General Hospital in Toronto.

The family of the child tells CityNews that the father and baby began showing symptoms after a family dinner with someone who had returned from the United States last week. As that person began to show symptoms and eventually tested positive, mother, father and baby were advised to go into self-quarantine. Since testing positive for COVID-19, both father and child are said to be doing well and recovering.

The province says it doesn’t appear that any of the new cases were due to community transmission.

Some of the patients had recently travelled to places including the United States, Spain and Puerto Rico.

The province says it has tested more than 4,100 people for the virus so far, and the vast majority of the tests have come back negative.

The news comes on the same day the Ontario government announced dedicated COVID-19 assessment centres were set to open in the next several days.

The government says the first wave of such centres will be facilities at Brampton Civic Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital, North York General Hospital, Mackenzie Health in York Region, Scarborough Health Network, and Trillium Health Partners in Peel Region.

The centres will be located in separate spaces to protect other patients.

More centres are set to be established across the province in the next few weeks.

Ontario has also approved new physician billing codes for telephone assessments, which will allow doctors to do more evaluations that way rather than having people come into their clinics.

The province is also in the early stages of planning to establish at-home testing.