COVID-19 has reached the Townships: World Health Organization declares disease a pandemic

By Matthew McCully with files from The Canadian Press

The first case of COVID-19 in the Estrie region was confirmed Wednesday afternoon. According to a CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS media rep, the patient is currently at home. The person who tested positive for the virus had been traveling in Italy, and is currently in isolation at home. The news comes on the heels of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a pandemic. Despite quarantines and extreme measures in countries where the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 (the disease it causes) first appeared, there are now more than 118,000 confirmed cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 deaths. The disease has spread 13-fold in the past two weeks. In a media briefing Wednesday morning, WHO Executive Director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained the severity of the situation. “In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher. WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.” Ghebreyesus stressed the importance of being prepared and taking steps where possible to reduce transmission of the disease. “We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: all countries can still change the course of this pandemic,” he said. “If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace, and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission.” See full story in the Thursday, March 12 edition of The Record.

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