Latest positive coronavirus patient attended large Toronto mining conference, prompting warning to 25,000 attendees – by Carly Weeks (Globe and Mail – March 11, 2020)

Ontario health officials are investigating how a man attending a major Toronto conference became infected with COVID-19 amid fears the case marks the start of local transmission of the virus in the province.

Public Health Sudbury and Districts, which posted details of the case online Tuesday evening, said a man in his 50s tested positive for COVID-19, the name of the disease caused by the coronavirus, after attending the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s conference in Toronto on March 2 and 3. According to organizers, the annual event attracts 25,000 attendees from more than 130 countries.

Anyone who attended the conference is now being asked to monitor themselves for symptoms, such as a fever or a cough, for the next 14 days, according to Penny Sutcliffe, medical officer of health for Public Health Sudbury and Districts.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and a number of other provincial and federal cabinet ministers and business leaders attended the conference last week.

It’s unclear how or when the man became infected with the virus. He could have been exposed to it by an international traveler attending PDAC. Regardless, the case likely signals that community transmission of the virus has begun in Ontario, said Lucas Castellani, an infectious disease physician based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

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