HHS implements screening precautions for coronavirus

Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) is implementing new screening precautions at all of its sites in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The healthcare provider says patients may experience delays in “already busy hospitals” due to the new screening measures.

On Monday, Ontario health officials confirmed the first presumptive case of the virus reported over the weekend was indeed novel coronavirus.

The province’s chief medical officer of health said a man in his fifties who recently returned from China has been officially diagnosed after a test at the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg.

Officials say the man’s wife has also tested positive for the virus and is considered the country’s second presumptive case.

While officials say the risk to Canadians is considered low, HHS is stocking up on protective gear to prevent the spread of infection to staff and doctors and making infection prevention and control staff readily available to provide round the clock advice.

HHS says upon arrival to hospital, patients will be asked about their symptoms, particularly respiratory symptoms, whether they have traveled to Wuhan, China, and if they have come in contact with someone who has or is suspected of having coronavirus.

If they are at risk of having the virus, they will be taken to a special isolation room until a diagnosis can be confirmed.