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COVID-19 Update: 'We will get over this soon,' York Region medical officer of health says

In a videotaped message, Dr. Karim Kurji urges residents to do their civic duty and work with public health by remaining at home and limiting physical contact

"We will get over this soon," is the message from York Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Karim Kurji as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to grow "tremendously."

As the total number of confirmed cases in the region jumped to 163, with 26 new cases confirmed yesterday, March 27, in the wake of March break, Dr. Kurji is reassuring residents in a videotaped message released today that York Region public health is working hard to contain the spread of the virus.

"We will get over this soon, but it's important for us to work together in order to bring our numbers down," Dr. Kurji said. 

"In the last few days, the number of cases in York Region has grown tremendously. This is no surprise, we expected this," he said. "We in public health are trying very hard to put rings around the cases and their close contacts to ensure new cases don't arise and that the community is safe from being exposed to them."

Each case that is effectively contained prevents the infection of 60 individuals in the future, he added.

A majority of the region's cases are reported as under investigation, indicating the likelihood of local transmission or community spread.

The number of cases reported as resolved jumped from one to eight, as of last night.

The resolved cases, which are in Whitchurch-Stouffville, Richmond Hill, Markham and Vaughan, include the first two confirmed cases: a woman in her 30s in Richmond Hill and man in his 50s in Vaughan, both travel related.

The medical officer of health also urged residents to "stay at home as much as possible" — which doesn't mean you shouldn't go for walk — and to keep a distance of at least six feet from others.

He said the number of recovering cases in now in the "double digits", which is a "hopeful sign."

"So by working together and doing your civic duty, and us keeping those cases contained and contacts identified and contained, we will come out positively though this," he said.

Yesterday, York Region confirmed its second COVID-related death occurred March 26, a Vaughan woman in her 80s.

Continuing investigation indicates the virus was acquired through close contacts, York Region spokesperson Patrick Casey said.

Two household contacts have also tested positive, one of whom is hospitalized, he said.

The three cases have no connection to a long-term care facility. 

York Region's first COVID-19 related death was a 72-year-old Markham woman who died March 21 hours after she returned home from travel in Tahiti and France via Los Angeles.

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Debora Kelly

About the Author: Debora Kelly

Debora Kelly is NewmarketToday's editor. She is an award-winning journalist and communications professional who is passionate about building strong communities through engagement, advocacy and partnership.
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