Novel Coronavirus Update from Tor. Public Health

05 Mar

March 4, 2020

Dear School Community:

Re: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Travel from Iran

I am writing to provide you with an update about the novel coronavirus: COVID-19. Toronto Public Health (TPH) continues to actively monitor and respond to the situation in collaboration with our City, and provincial and federal health partners.

What has changed?
There has been an increase in cases of COVID-19 in Iran, and a small number of individuals in our community with recent travel history in this country have contracted COVID-19. As a result, there is now new direction for people who have travelled in Iran. If you, or your child, have travelled recently in Iran, you are asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days after your last day in Iran. This is similar to the advice for returning travellers from Hubei Province, China. These returning travellers are also asked to call TPH at 416-338-7600 within 24 hours of arriving in Canada, and we will provide you with further instructions.

For Individuals who have travelled in other affected areas:
If you have travelled in mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Italy and Singapore, please monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after leaving the affected area. If you are making travel plans in the near future, including over the March break, please consult the Government of Canada website for current travel advice and advisories related to COVID-19. Some countries have entry and exit restrictions.

If I have symptoms of COVID-19, what should I do?
If you, or your child, develop symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing), please call your family doctor or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. For individuals who have travelled in an affected area, before you visit any health care provider, please call ahead to let them know about your travel history and symptoms. This will allow them to make special arrangements to see you quickly, provide testing, and ensure the use proper infection control measures.

What more can I do to prepare in case the local situation changes?
The best way to prepare is to consider the supplies you may need at home if you became unwell with any illness, not just COVID-19. For families, this may mean considering your household needs, and how you may address them if someone in your household becomes unwell. You may also consider having supplies on-hand so you do not need to leave home if you or a family member becomes ill, or plan ahead for childcare needs. If the situation changes, you may also consider changing your daily routine to reduce exposure to crowded places.

How can I stay informed?
One of the most important things you can do to prepare is to stay informed. Toronto Public Health continues to carefully monitor this evolving situation, and we regularly update our website with the latest, factual information at You can also call TPH at 416-338-7600, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Translation is available in many languages.


Dr. Eileen de Villa
Medical Officer of Health

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