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On December 31, 2019, cases of undiagnosed viral pneumonia were first reported by health authorities in Wuhan, China. The cause has now been confirmed as a new coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, which has not previously been identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that circulate in animals including humans and may cause illness in them. Human coronaviruses are common and can range from mild illnesses such as the common cold, to severe illnesses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV).

99 patients with 2019-nCoV pneumonia exhibited the following clinical manifestations:

  • fever (83 per cent)
  • cough (82 per cent),
  • shortness of breath (31 per cent)
  • muscle ache (11 per cent)
  • confusion (9 per cent)
  • headache (8 per cent)
  • sore throat (5 per cent)
  • rhinorrhoea (4 per cent)
  • chest pain (2 per cent)
  • diarrhoea (2 per cent)
  • nausea and vomiting (1 per cent)

The risk to Toronto residents remains low. Toronto Public Health continues to actively monitor the situation in collaboration with provincial and national health agencies, and stakeholders that include local hospitals, airports and community agencies.

Up to date information regarding:

Health care providers who have access to, and can safely use, N95 respirators (e.g. fit-tested, seal-checked, training, procedures, supplies),and have the capacity to collect and send the appropriate specimens for 2019-nCoV to Public Health Ontario (PHO), may test patients who they determine are a Person Under Investigation.

Note: Health care providers who are going to conduct a clinical examination and/or collect specimens for a patient at risk of having 2019-nCoV should follow routine practices as well as airborne, droplet and contact precautions.

For more information about testing, see the Public Health Ontario Laboratory testing guidelines for 2019-nCoV.

There is no vaccine that protects against coronaviruses.

Health care providers who are screening (clinical history and visual assessment, maintaining a two-metre distance from the patient) a patient at risk of having 2019-nCoV should follow Routine Practices as well as contact and droplet precautions.

Health care providers who are going to conduct a clinical examination and/or collect specimens for a patient at risk of having 2019-nCoV should follow Routine Practices as well as airborne, droplet and contact precautions. This includes safe use of N95 respirators (e.g. fit-tested, seal-checked, training, procedures, supplies).

More information:

There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, and there is no vaccine that protects against coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own.

Any Person under Investigation for 2019-nCoV must be immediately reported to TPH by telephone at 416-392-7411 (after hours: 311).