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Norah Holder made the following public statement today at 1:30 p.m.

"CGMH received notification March 19th of its first lab-confirmed COVID-19 case. A local man in his 50’s recently returned from out of country and presented to CGMH’s Emergency Department on March 13th.

CGMH's Emergency Department team engaged in the necessary processes and precautions to ensure the safety of employees and other patients. The patient was quickly isolated and cared for by a team wearing full protective equipment. After being assessed and tested in the ED, it was determined the patient did not require further medical treatment and was discharged home to self-isolate as per Public Health Ontario guidance documents.

Our excellent employees and physicians were well-prepared to care for this patient and I want to assure you that CGMH is very safe for employees, physicians, volunteers, and patients.

It is important to note that many patients who test positive for COVID-19 will not require hospitalization. Inpatient hospital beds must also be available for patients having other non-COVID related acute conditions. Self-isolation at home, following strict Public Health guidelines will be appropriate for a large number of these patients who will be confirmed in the coming days and weeks.

CGMH has implemented many directives, protocols and best practices to ensure safety during this time of heightened COVID-19 activity including the following:

• Patients are screened for travel history and symptoms of illness.

• Entry points to the building have been limited.

• Infection Prevention and Control protocols and procedures are robust with ongoing educational support.

• Visitor restrictions are in place.

• Enhanced cleaning continues in busy, high-touch areas.

We continue to follow the guidance of the Ministry of Health and Public Health related to testing only those patients that meet the testing directive.

I would like to thank everyone on the CGMH team who continues to follow best practices to provide care in this environment of COVID-19. In particular, I would like to recognize those working in the Assessment Centre and Emergency Department to ensure that patients are screened, assessed and tested as appropriate. At this time of a global pandemic every employee at CGMH is playing their own critical role in the health and safety of our patients and community.

The COVID-19 situation is fluid, with new information and cases being announced every day. We anticipate that this is only our first confirmed case of COVID-19. In the days and weeks to come, others will be confirmed.

We again ask the public to help limit the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing (maintaining a two metre distance from others), coughing and sneezing into their elbow, staying home when unwell, avoiding all non-essential outings in public places and undertaking vigorous and frequent handwashing.

For those who have offered support of food and care packages, you have our thanks. Unfortunately we don’t have the resources to accept these gestures safely at this time. Messages of appreciation on social media, notes to friends, family and neighbours who are healthcare workers or donations to our Foundation are helpful and appreciated.

I have the greatest confidence in every CGMH employee and physician. They have the experience, knowledge and skills to help us successfully navigate through this COVID-19 global pandemic.

Our South Georgian Bay community is so fortunate to have such a dedicated team.”
The most up to date information on the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at the following websites:
Public Health - http://www.simcoemuskokahealth...
Government of Ontario - www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel...

Responses to additional questions asked by the media are listed below.
1. Does Public Health follow up on patients who have symptoms but were not tested?
Patients who present to CGMH with COVID-19 symptoms but do not meet the Ministry/Public Health testing directive are recorded by the Assessment Centre medical professional and sent home with directions to self-isolate and return if symptoms worsen. This information is sent directly to Public Health but we have been unable to verify whether Public Health follows up with these patients. Please request this information directly from Public Health.

2. How many COVID-19 tests are being administered at CGMH?
CGMH began recording the number of COVID-19 test swabs administered on March 16th in order to inform decision-making for our medical team. From March 16th until 7:30 am today, we had recorded approximately 37 patients who had been swabbed for COVID-19 at CGMH. Please understand that there has only just been a Public Health request for hospitals to record this information and report it through a data management system and so we are using the term "approximate" at this time.

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