The Ontario Department of Health has revealed there have been 854 new cases of the first-known strain of highly-contagious respiratory illness since the province began reporting it on Monday, reaching a total of 13,222 reported cases since the start of the outbreak.
The new number brings the total number of confirmed cases since the outbreak began to 13,222, with 213 of the new cases so far being identified as infected with the newly-discovered strain of coronavirus. One new case has also been reported in Mexico.
The virus that causes the disease, which has several origins, including the same microbe that causes SARS, is currently being connected to what was previously thought to be just one strain, the bacteria called Coxsackievirus. Tests for both were negative.
Those 13,222 cases is more than double the number the numbers Ontario had put out prior, indicating just how quickly people started showing symptoms with those who were infected.
The new cases brought the total number of confirmed cases to 13,222, which was again more than double the number Ontario officials had previously put out.
The new cases have so far been most concentrated in Toronto, with 15 of the new confirmed cases in the Greater Toronto Area, and several other parts of the province. All are so far considered to be unrelated to each other or to other outbreaks. One individual, who was the second case to be confirmed in Toronto, is believed to have also been infected outside of the province.
No new deaths have been reported yet.
Medical health officer Dr. Heather Rutherford stated in a release Friday, “The unprecedented number of cases has sparked a health emergency that will not go away unless adequate care and support is provided.
“These are very important early tests and monitoring of the influenza virus. To further evaluate the effectiveness of the surveillance, we are developing a robust influenza surveillance strategy in line with international best practices.”
She also mentioned it was not the first time the Ontario government has intervened in a public health issue, as in 2009, just prior to SARS outbreak that resulted in 774 confirmed cases of illness and six fatalities.
The Ontario government also said it planned to order hand-held ultrasound units to get more blood samples in-house. This will enable them to produce tests in-house that will help to confirm individuals who are infected more quickly.
Dr. Kelley Gorman, Clinical Chair of Infectious Diseases at University Health Network, agreed that it was too early to know what the impact of the outbreak is going to be.
“We have a long way to go, but it is important to identify as many cases as we can, and control the worst for as long as we can. Health officials, as well as impacted families, will keep testing until the end of the school year in order to keep control, so we can all put this strain behind us.”
Dr. Laurel Dachuk from St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto told Dr. Oz that Ontario hospitals are currently handling about 100 new cases every day.
Gorman emphasized that the outbreak was an “unusual spike in a novel flu type.”
“It’s important to note that there has been no report of widespread outbreak, and despite this new, higher number of cases, we still have fewer than one case per day. The intensity of the outbreak is now on par with SARS, but substantially lower than the recent Dallas outbreak.”
After a strong showing in the 2016 census, Toronto has been talking about making the city a “breathing space” to draw visitors and millennials from all over the globe.
Given the difficulty many Canadians were facing at the hands of the listeria outbreak this summer, which some called an indicator of a larger rise in E.coli infections elsewhere, and the increased focus on combating the growing threat of bee bees and humans facing at is insects that were seen this summer, people had been concerned over whether or not the problem with the case of dengue was going to lead to more cases of chikungunya, a tropical disease.