TORONTO — Ontario health officials announced four more cases of the new coronavirus in the province on Sunday, bringing the total diagnoses in Canada to 24.
All four of the patients had recently travelled overseas, so the province said it appears the virus is not yet spreading locally.
"However, given the global circumstances, Ontario is actively working with city and health partners to plan for the potential of local spread," the ministry of health wrote in a statement.
There have now been 15 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, though the first three patients have since been cleared of the virus.
Of the four new cases, three had recently been in Iran, the province said. All four people are in self-isolation at home.
One is a Toronto man in his 50s currently staying in Vaughan, Ont. He and his brother, who was also diagnosed with COVID-19, were in Iran recently.
Another of the cases is a man from York Region in his 40s, who recently returned from Iran with his wife and toddler. His wife was confirmed to have COVID-19 on Saturday.
The third is a Toronto man in his 50s who got back from Iran a week ago and went to hospital on Friday.
"As per protocols, he went into self-isolation where he remains with minimal contact with others," the health ministry said in its statement. "Toronto Public Health is actively engaged in contact tracing and case management."
The fourth patient is a woman in her 70s from Newmarket, Ont. She was in Egypt with another person who was recently diagnosed with the virus.
Thus far, health officials have said, all of the cases of COVID-19 in Canada are either in people who had recently travelled abroad or who were in close contact with those who had. British Columbia has reported eight cases, and Quebec is reporting one.
They say the best way to prevent the spread of any virus, COVID-19 included, include frequent hand-washing and staying home from school or work while sick.
The epicentre of the virus is in China, where nearly 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 2,800 have died.
Iran was reporting 978 cases as of Sunday, with 54 deaths. But Egypt has only publicly reported one case of the illness.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 1, 2020.
Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press