Ontario reports 19 new COVID-19 cases, total now at 79


TORONTO -- Ontario is reporting 19 new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total to 79.

The total includes a new case that was reported late Thursday -- in Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the prime minister's wife.

The new cases include people who live in Toronto, York Region, Peel Region, Ottawa, Niagara, and Waterloo.

According to the Ontario government’s COVID-19 website, four Region of Peel residents have been newly diagnosed. Local patients include a woman in her 20s, a woman in her 60s, a man in his 20s and a woman in her 20s. All new cases appear to be related to travel or close contact with an infected patient.

A man in his 80s in the Niagara Region is hospitalized, but all of the other people are in self-isolation.

Most of the new cases are in people who recently travelled to places such as the United States and Egypt or have had close contacts with other confirmed cases.

Six cases are not listed with specific sources of transmission, but health officials say the investigations into those cases are ongoing.

Ontario's chief medical officer of health is recommending the immediate suspension of all large events and public gatherings of over 250 people due to COVID-19.

In a memo to be issued today, Dr. David Williams says organizers of smaller gatherings should consult with their local public health unit.

He says all Ontarians should practice social distancing as much as possible to manage the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The provincial government announced Thursday that Ontario is closing all public schools for two weeks following March break.

No government directive has yet been issued to daycares, but Williams says child-care centres should actively screen children, parents, staff and visitors for any COVID-19 symptoms and travel history.

Meanwhile, some of Ontario's largest universities are cancelling in-person classes over COVID-19 concerns.

The University of Toronto, York University, Western University, Carlton University and McMcaster University are among the post-secondary institutions to announce such closures.

Schools are moving classes online and many have cancelled all discretionary events.

In Toronto, a major tourist attraction announced today that it is closing for the next month.

Canada Lands Company, which owns the CN Tower, says it will close tonight and won't reopen until April 14.

The Canadian Press

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