Corp Comm Connects

Five key messages about coronavirus from York Region’s media conference

Mayor Frank Scarpitti and region’s medical officer of health address concerns about virus linked to Wuhan
Jan. 31, 2020
Kim Zarzour

In an effort to allay anxieties and combat the rise of rumours about the coronavirus, the Region of York live streamed a news conference held Jan. 30 at First Markham Place shopping centre, translating English to Cantonese, Mandarin and Farsi.

Here are some key takeaways:

1. The situation in China is very different from the situation here in York Region. We do not have the sorts of risks that exist in China. No one in the community appears to have acquired coronavirus from someone else within the community. All cases that have been identified in Canada can be linked to China.

2. There were 37 individuals who were in the business class with those two individual confirmed cases of coronavirus. Of those 37, 15 are York Region residents. Public health has contacted all of them; 14 have no symptoms and one has symptoms and is being monitored by the board of health. There were also some who were not in business class who have developed symptoms. They are being monitored and the board of health is keeping tabs on them.

3. There is no greater risk to people at a Markham mall than what may have existed several weeks ago. Moving around in the mall is regarded as a casual contact. So even if somebody was symptomatic, it is not expected that they could transmit the disease to someone else.

4. The disease is transmitted through droplets from someone in close contact. To stop the spread, stay at least two metres away from people who are sick and don’t share utensils. And if you are sick, stay home.

5. Healthy resilient adults are somewhat resistant to this virus. Young children, elderly or those who have health issues might be more vulnerable, but even with those individuals, it requires interaction in proximity and over a prolonged period of time to transmit the virus.